While Saint Nicholas may bring gifts to good boys and girls, ancient folklore in Europe's Alpine region also tells of Krampus,
a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish in horrible ways -- or possibly to drag back to his lair in a sack. [more inside]
the Christmas Demon of Germanic folklore whose job it was to punish the kids on Santa's Naughty List has been featured here before
. And while most people assume he is a better-left-forgotten relic of less gentle times (or less gentle places
), he appears to be having a resurgence this year, being featured everywhere from Buzzfeed
to The Awl
. He's getting a piece of the Christmas merchandise blitz
and of course he has his own website
. There is Krampus music
and he even speaks in his own defense
. And of course, he has a 'Folk Death Metal' band named after him
But the biggest Krampus Kontroversy today is via travel/food TV maven Anthony Bourdain, who wrote and had animated a cautionary Krampus story for the holiday edition of his show, which was rejected by his bosses at the Travel Channel
. Fortunately, you can still see it on YouTube
. Happy Holidays!
"Punk-artist-anthropologist Cameron Jamie has made three documentaries on violence; I’ve read about them all and seen just this one
." The author speaks of "Kranky Klaus," LA-born artist Jamie's peek into the Austrian folkloric character Krampus
, a sort of photo-negative of Santa Claus who comes on Christmas to punish bad children. [more inside]
In alpine Europe, Perchta the Belly-Slitter
(a.k.a Berta/Berchta/Frau Percht) roams during the Twelve Days of Christmas
, and if you piss her off, she'll cut out your entrails and stuff you full of straw and garbage.
And you thought Krampus
was all you had to dodge to get through the holidays! [more inside]
Most American elementary school kids will tell you about who they think Santa is friends with. Mrs. Claus
, Rudolph, and the elves come to mind, as well as many of the Rankin-Bass characters
that have become cultural institutions. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Make space on your mantle for Zwarte Piet
decorations! [more inside]
Who travels with St. Nicholas?
Most of us didn't learn about Krampus
in elementary school, but apparently Santa Claus doesn't just rely on positive reinforcement. Gather the kiddies around and teach
them about the "Christmas Devil."