Christmas gossip – move aside Bad Santa, Krampus is here. Did Santa Claus have an evil twin?
Well, not exactly but he seems to have an evil counterpart.
Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved.
According to folklore, Krampus purportedly shows up in towns the night before December 6, known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. December 6 also happens to be Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, when German children look outside their door to see if the shoe or boot they’d left out the night before contains either presents (a reward for good behavior) or a rod (bad behavior).
Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon, horrific beast who literally beats children into being nice and not naughty.
Krampus isn’t exactly the stuff of dreams: Bearing horns, dark hair, and fangs, the anti-St. Nicholas comes with a chain and bells that he lashes about, along with a bundle of birch sticks meant to swat naughty children. The good kids get a gift from St. Nicholas and bad kids get a gift from Krampus – a wooden stick.He then hauls the bad kids down to the underworld.
Krampus, whose name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legend is part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin in early December.
A more modern take on the tradition in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic involves drunken men dressed as devils, who take over the streets for a Krampuslauf—a Krampus Run of sorts, when people are chased through the streets by the “devils.”
Why scare children with a demonic, pagan monster? Maybe it’s a way for humans to get in touch with their animalistic side.
Krampus’s frightening presence was suppressed for many years—the Catholic Church forbade the raucous celebrations, and fascists in World War II Europe found Krampus despicable because it was considered a creation of the Social Democrats. #christmas #santa Claus #krampus #holidays #traditions