Who is tall, hairy, and comes into your homes Christmas Eve and punishes children for being the rotten little kids they are? In North America, Ol’ St. Nick gets double duty, thus adding to the stress to his workload. But in Central Europe, there’s a hairy (brown or black fur), goat looking (cloven hooves, horns), with a long, pointed tongue that lolls out, and fangs, that will snatch up the bad children, and take them away in his bag/basket.
Gang, they don’t fuck around in Europe. The people of Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Northern Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, and parts of Germany have been telling their kids for centuries that if they don’t shape up, the Krampus is coming. They don’t use no pussy Elf on a Shelf. No, they use a Half Goat/Half Demon is a gonna come knocking, if don’t knock it off, and get your shit together.
In this region, good ol’ St Nick comes around, and rewards children for behaving good throughout the year. In some places, St Nick rewards the kids for studying hard, and working hard. He’s rewarded with tasty treats, glasses of milk, and delicious pastries. It’s why he’s fat, and probably had high cholesterol.
But if they’re bad, a large hairy half demon shows up, and instead of leaving milk and cookies, it is customary to leave the Krampus some schnapps. Look kids, if you are on your way to bed Christmas eve, and you see your parents pulling out shot glasses, you might as well quit dreaming about a playstation, and figure out what you are going to do with the bundle of coal, or the faggot of sticks that you are more than likely to get that year. Yeah, I said faggot, and I used it properly too, so bite me.
St Nick has been around since roughly the 11th century. The Krampus has predated Christianity. You all may be stunned to hear this, but the Christians might have stolen the Krampus from pagan beliefs, and used his image to rule by fear. In fact, the chains that the Krampus carries is often believed to have come from the Christians, symbolizing the bond between the Krampus and Ol’ Scratch. Recently, the origin of Krampus has been tied in with Hel, him being her son (she is the Norse goddess of the underworld). This comes from fantasy writer Gerald Brom, and have been picked up by others since. So if you hear that, it’s a newer belief, and a reimagining.
The Krampus is such a powerful image, and believed to be so evil, that in 1923 the folklore was banned by the Christian Social Party (imagine that), and that lasted towards the end of the century, where it started to make a comeback.
Today, the Krampus is starting to make headway into North America. There was an awful movie about him, though the image has been embraced by those who are into the macabre, and is slowly getting a foothold in our folklore. 20 years ago, if someone had mentioned Krampus, you would have had no clue who he was. Today, you at least have an idea.
In Europe though, especially during the holiday season, he is celebrated almost as much as Santa Claus. Ol’ Kris Kringle and Krampus go hand in hand, he is the Yang to Santa’s Ying so to speak. They have parades, they have celebrations, they drink schnapps, and they even have ceremonies where Krampus will come out of a cave, and chase children and men unless they say a small prayer.
So remember parents, instead of spending $20 on some stupid elf you have to keep moving around, tell your kids about Ol’ Krampus, give them something really good to think about, and maybe leave a basket by the front door, and I guarantee those little monsters will turn into angels.
J (bring on the Krampus) R