Saturday, December 07, 2013

Oh, Krampus Night Alright

Thursday night was the Night of the Krampus. It's no Night of the's better.

I'll be honest. I had not heard of the Krampus before I saw it on the show Venture Brothers. And I was pleased to learn that it was actually a real concept, and a popular one to boot, in some parts of the world.

Krampus in Austria
Yes. The Krampus is still with us. And it's even something people dress up as, like Santa Claus.

There are even parades.

The Krampus is meant to be a demonic looking being of central Europe. It acts to terrify children, as a lead up to St. Nicholas Day (No, it's not Christmas. It's December 5th). Sometimes he swats at kids with branches. Most of the times he's covered his chains and bells, tinkling away. You can hear him coming for you. And, as the story sometimes go, he'll carry off bad little kids to their doom.

The Krampus (adults eagerly dressed up in furs, horns, scary masks, bells, and chains) will travel around a town, welcomed into businesses and even homes, searching for bad children.

In some cases he'll appear with St. Nicholas. In others he's met by a Jesus figure.But in some places, the Krampus is a lone figure to celebrate. And it is a celebration. Libation. Winter laughs. And wishes to make it to the next Spring.

The character is an ancient one, going back to pre-Christian Europe. (In some cases it's seen as a child of the Scandanavian goddess Hel) He is a shaggy goat horned fellow, looking for the booze, and kids to punish. And as a figure it's spread through Central Europe, even in some spots in North America.

For a time, once Christianity arrived, the Krampus was pushed back against (like many pagan figures and celebrations). Through the Inquisition, it was suppressed. But, finally, it was embraced and made part of the festivities (like many pagan figures and celebrations).

It adds a nice texture to the Christmas season. Santa brings good kids gifts. Krampus goes out and brings bad kids punishment. A balance.

May the Krampus not come for you this cold night.


I changed the night in question to Thursday...It's late.

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