In Eastern European Folklore, What Demonic Character Rides Along With Saint Nicholas

Contents

Who Travels with St. Nicholas?

Traditions around St. Nicholas differ from location to place. This is especially clear when you take a look at the folks that accompany him on his gift-giving excursions. In many cases, these practices had their origins in the Middle Ages, when there was a tremendous preoccupation with the conflict between good and evil. Because of his kind patronage, St. Nicholas represents the good. However, he sometimes travels alongside others who represent the forces of evil. These creatures, which may occasionally resemble devils, can be quite scary.

Nicholas, serving as an assertion that evil will not have the final say.

White Horse

From one region to another, St. Nicholas customs are distinct and unique. The characters that join him on his gift-giving rounds are the most obvious manifestation of this. Numerous customs date back to the Middle Ages, a period in which people were fascinated by the conflict between right and wrong. When we think of St. Nicholas, we think of goodness and generosity. In certain cases, he is accompanied by others who represent the forces of evil. A lot of people are afraid of these beings, which occasionally resemble devils.

Nicholas, albeit this is not always the case—a statement that evil will not have the last say.

Donkey

Belgian Postcard from the past Collection of the St. Nicholas Center Throughout France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, St. Nicholas rides on the back of a donkey, filled with baskets full of goodies and gifts for the children.

Angels

Czech Postcard from 1923 Collection of the St. Nicholas Center In Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Austria, it is possible that the saint’s aids are present. They may maintain a record of the children’s conduct in St. Nicholas’ huge book, and they may even accompany St. Nicholas on his gift-giving journey with the book. Tradition has it that the angel is sent to guard infants from the devil in both Czech and Slovak countries.

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Austrian Postcard from the past In Austria, southern Germany, and several other Eastern European countries, a scary devil-like figure associated with St. Nicholas has been discovered with St. Nicholas Center Collection. He is clothed in fur, and he has horns and a big crimson tongue to go with it. Krampus, also known as PerchtenorTuifl, is sometimes shown in shackles to demonstrate that he is under the jurisdiction of the saint and so unable to harm others. In certain regions, Krampus visits and runs are quite horrific, and entail beating passerby and bystanders, especially children, with sticks, causing full and utter horror in the hearts of youngsters.

Krampus is an Austrian Christmas custom that may be a pain in the neck.

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Postcard from the Czech Republic from the past Collection of the St.

Nicholas Center St. Nicholas is accompanied by a shaggy furred demon with horns, a tail, and a long red tongue in the legends of the Czech and Slovak peoples. He carries a stick with which to threaten punishment. The majority of the time, he is bound, and an angel is present to guard the children.

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Postcard from Germany from 1949 Herr Ruprecht, the collectionor at the St Nicholas Center, is perhaps the most well-known of St. Nicholas’ attendants in Germany. He is a servant and assistance, and the soot on his face is the result of him descending down chimneys and leaving sweets for the youngsters. He is armed with a sack of gifts and a rod for disciplining wayward youngsters. It is still typical in German households to be threatened with the phrase “just wait till Ruprecht comes.” Ruprecht began his career as a farmhand in the French province of Alsace, where he is known asHanstrapporRupelzin.

Throughout the Palatinate, both Nicholas and his companion are referred to as Stappklos, which translates as “plodder and grumbler.”

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Postcard from the Netherlands Collection of the St. Nicholas Center Sinterklaas, also known as Black Peter, was first introduced to the Netherlands in the 1845 bookSinterklaas en Zijn Knecht as a Sinterklaas helper. He travels with Sinterklaas over the roofs, listens down chimneys to check on the behavior of the youngsters, and presents gifts to them. Despite the fact that some have questioned whether he is still relevant in today’s society, the Piets are extremely popular in the Netherlands, where they are perceived as more fun-loving and playful than the more formal bishop.

Piets may also be found in the Belgian province of Flanders.

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The St Nicholas Center Collectioncan be located in France and Luxembourg, where he is known asHousécker, and is a popular tourist attraction. He is the wicked butcher who was sentenced to eternal imprisonment in the company of St. Nicolas as a punishment for enticing the small lost children into his butcher shop. His given name, Mr. Bogeyman, can be translated as “spanking” or “switches,” but it does not translate well.

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Photo courtesy of the Samichlausgesellschaft in Küsnacht am Rigi. Permission is almost all brown: he is dressed in brown, has brown hair and a beard, and has a face that has been browned with grease and soot. In Switzerland, he is known as St. Nicholas’s aid. He still carries a switch and a bag, but he doesn’t use them anymore. Schmutzli was said to whip wayward children with the switch and then bring them away in the sack to swallow them up in the woods, which was a popular story among youngsters.

  1. span id=” “*” span class=” “” The St.
  2. Nicholas Society, has taken a position that does not condone nor wish to perpetuate in any way traditions that include characters with a dark side, such as the terrifying Austrian Krampus, while also encouraging the continuation of the St.
  3. In spite of the images associated with these figures, we expect St.
  4. Despite the fact that the Dutch Zwarte Piet has evolved into a more benign persona over time, he nonetheless poses significant challenges.

Nicholas’ assistant. St. Nicholas is a symbol of only good, and only good in our world. He does not require, and should not be provided with, violent and terrifying sidekicks to serve as a point of reference. Help St. Nicholas, the good sailor! return to the beginning

Companions of Saint Nicholas – Wikipedia

Saint Nicholas and Krampus pay a visit to aViennese residence (1896 illustration). In a 1953 image shot in Wintzenheim, Alsace, the Hans Trappcharacter can be seen. It is a set of closely connected characters that follow Saint Nicholas across the lands once under the control of the Holy Roman Empire or the nations that were inspired by it culturally. Disobedient youngsters are threatened with thrashing or abduction by these figures, who act as a counterpoint to the benevolentChristmas gift-bringer.

There are parallels between theChristmas gift-bringer and elves in English and Scandinavian tradition, and the Christmas gift-bringer is ultimately and remotely tied to theChristmas elf in modern American culture.

In the Czech Republic, Saint Nicholas, orsvat Mikulá, is accompanied by theert (the Devil) andandl (the angel of death) (Angel).

Appearance

The Companions accompany Saint Nicholas on his journey, and they are frequently the topic of winter ballads and tales. They travel with a rod (sometimes a staff, and in contemporary times, commonly a broom) and a sack. They are sometimes clad in black rags, with a black face and wild black hair, and they have a black beard. Many modern depictions of Nicholas’ friends depict them as dark, scary, or rustic counterparts of Nicholas himself, dressed in a similar attire but with a darker color scheme than Nicholas himself.

Knecht Ruprecht

Knecht Ruprecht, which translates asFarmhand RupertorServant Rupert in German folklore, is a companion of Saint Nicholas who is perhaps the most well-known of the characters. Tradition has it that he was a guy with a long beard who wore fur or was covered with pea-straw, among other things. Knecht Ruprecht occasionally carried a long stick and a sack of ashes, and he adorned his clothing with little bells to distinguish himself from other people. Knecht Ruprecht traditionally inquires of youngsters as to whether or not they are aware of their prayers.

If they do not comply, he beats them with his bag of ashes until they submit.

In the German tradition, he is also notorious for putting a switch (stick) in the shoes of misbehaving children instead of sweets, fruit, or nuts.

Aristotle’s archetypal manservant, Knecht Ruprecht was portrayed by Alexander Tille as “having exactly as much individuality of social rank and as little individuality of personal character as theJunker HannsandtheBauer Michel, the characters representing country nobility and peasantry, respectively.” Tille further claims that Knecht Ruprecht had no link to the holiday season at the time of its founding.

Ruprecht occasionally walks with a limp as a result of a childhood injury he sustained.

The children would be invited to the door to perform feats, such as a dance or singing a song, in order to impress upon Santa and Ruprecht that they were truly nice children, according to various Ruprecht legends.

Those who had done poorly enough or had committed other sins over the year were placed in Ruprecht’s bag and brought away, where they were either devoured later at Ruprecht’s residence in the Black Forest or thrown into a river.

The children must be asleep in other versions, and they would awaken to discover their shoes filled with candy, coal, or in some cases a stick while they were supposed to be asleep.

Krampus

It is said that Krampus is a fearsome character that may be found in regions of Austria and Bavaria as well as South Tyrol, Slovenia, and Croatia. Krampus is thought to have originated in pre-Christian Alpine customs. In Tyrol, he is sometimes referred to as “Tuifl.” It is the Feast of Saint Nicholas, which is observed on December 6 in many regions of Europe. On the previous evening, Krampusnacht, the wicked hairy fiend makes an appearance on the streets of Vienna. He may or may not accompany St.

  1. Krampus, on the other hand, will occasionally be on his own, visiting people’s homes and places of business.
  2. Since the 1800s, Europeans have been sharing Krampuskarten, or holiday greeting cards picturing the Krampus.
  3. Across 1200 “Krampus” from all over Austria congregate inSchladming, Styria, donning goat-hair costumes and carved masks, carrying bundles of sticks used as switches, and swinging cowbells to alert onlookers of their approach.
  4. Nicholas at Krampus celebrations held throughout late November and early December around the country.
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Belsnickel

In the modern era, Belsnickelon on his way to terrify youngsters while dressed in his travel gear, in December 2012. Belsnickel was a companion of Saint Nicholas who lived in the Palatinate (Pfalz) region of Germany at the time. ‘Belsnickel’ is a man who dresses in fur that covers his entire body, and he occasionally sports a mask with an extended tongue. He is a frightening monster who visits children during the Christmas season and brings candy-filled socks or shoes; however, if the children have not been nice, they will discover coal in their stockings instead of sugar.

  1. Today, traces of this custom, known as theBelsnickel, may still be found, particularly in Pennsylvania.
  2. Brown, writing about a time period about 1830, claims that “we had never heard of”Santa Claus.
  3. The children not only saw the mystery guy, but they also felt him, or rather his stripes, on their backs as a result of the switch he used.
  4. He would typically dress in feminine clothes, thus the epithet “Christmas lady,” but he could sometimes appear as a genuine woman, but with masculine vigor and movement.

After dropping the goodies on the floor, a mad scramble would break out among the delighted children; the other hand would ply the switch on their backs, which they would not notice because it was parental discipline; however, if it had been parental discipline, there would have been screams that could be heard for a long distance.

It is similar to mummering in that people go from house to house within the communities dressed in multiple layers of clothing and with scarves wrapped around their faces to conceal their identities, as is the case with mummering.

These individuals are then provided with food and beverages (typically rum or eggnog) until their identities are discovered, after which they are sent to the next residence.

Zwarte Piet (Black Pete)

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet are two of the most important holidays in the Netherlands. Zwarte Piet (English:Black Peter or Black Pete; French:Père-Fouettard, meaning father whipper) is a character in Dutch and Belgian folklore who is a companion of Saint Nicholas (Dutch:Sinterklaas). In the Low Countries, he is known as Zwarte Piet (English:Black Peter or Black Pete; French:Père-Fouettard, meaning father whipper). Roetveeg Piet (literally “soot wipe Pete”) is the name of the character who has only wipes of black make-up, and whose name has since been altered to make it less offensive (he has only wipes of black make-up).

Zwarte Piet is traditionally described as being black since he is a Moor from Spain.

The figure has become a recurrent source of debate, particularly in the Netherlands, due to what many consider to be his perceived lack of cultural and racial awareness.

Tradition has it that, like Knecht Ruprecht, he was the one who punished misbehaving youngsters, either by whipping them with a birch rod or by transporting them back to Spain in a bag carried by him (which on arrival contained the gifts for the good children).

See also

  • Joulupukki is a Finnish Christmas figure
  • Mr. Bingle is a fictional character created by retailers in New Orleans, Louisiana, for marketing purposes
  • Santa Claus’s reindeer are fictional reindeer that pull Santa Claus’s sleigh
  • Snegurochka is a Russian Christmas figure
  • Snegu

Notes

  1. Jacob Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology (translated by Stallybrass) has the following passage: “Because of their pranks and roughness, they serve as a counterpoint to the gracious higher entity from whom the gifts are derived. what is the best way to describe the Swiss Schmutzli I’m not sure I understand him, perhaps it’s because of his smutty, sooty appearance? There is also aBärthel(referring to Bertha or Bartholomew?)SchmutzbartelandKlaubauf in Styria who rattles, rackets, and tosses nuts in place of Grampus.”
  2. “Christmas Eve Pre-Christian Traditions” (Christmas Eve Pre-Christian Traditions). The origins and evolution of Saint Nicholas, spanning 50,000 years(McFarland, 1997), 82
  3. AbAlexander Tille,Yule and Christmas: their place in the Germanic year(D. Nutt, 1899), 116
  4. AbPhyllis Siefker,Santa Claus, last of the wild men: the origins and evolution of Saint Nicholas, spanning 50,000 years(McFarland, 1997), 82
  5. AbT On December 3, 2013, The Atlantic published an article by Maurice Bruce titled (March 1958). “The Krampus in the Land of Styria.” Folklore.69(1): 44–47.doi: 10.1080/0015587X.1958.9717121
  6. Siefker, Phyllis. Folklore.69(1): 44–47.doi: 10.1080/0015587X.1958.9717121 (1997). The history of Saint Nicholas, the last of the Wild Men, including his beginnings and progress. 155–159.ISBN0-7864-0246-6
  7. Ridenour, Al (ed.) Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co. (2016). The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: The Devil’s Origins and Rebirth as a Folkloric Character Isbn 1627310345
  8. Jacob Brown’s Miscellaneous Writings, Printed by J.J. Miller (Cumberland, Maryland 1896), page 41
  9. Jacob Brown,Miscellaneous Brown’s Writings, Printed by J.J. Miller (Cumberland, Maryland 1896), page 41
  10. Bruce David Forbes is a writer and a businessman who lives in New York City (2007). A Honest Account of the Holiday Season. UC Press (University of California Press)
  11. Felicity Morse is a fictional character created by author Felicity Morse. “Zwarte Piet: Growing Opposition to the ‘Racist Black Pete’ Dutch Tradition,” The New York Times. The Huffington Post is based in the United Kingdom. “St. Nicholas Center: Dutch Sinterklaas Songs,” which was retrieved on October 27, 2012. retrieved on May 13th, 2021

Further reading

  • The Percht and the Krampus, the Kramperl and the Schiach-Perchten by Felix Müller and Ulrich Müller. In: Müller, Ulrich / Wunderlich, Werner (eds. ): Mittelalter-Mythen 2. Dämonen-Monster-Fabelwesen (Middle Age Myths 2. Dämonen-Monster-Fabelwesen). St. Gallen 1999, pages 449–460
  • Laity, K. A.: When Little Joe the Krampus Met, Wombat’s World Publishing, 2003

External links

  • Felix and Ulrich Müller – Percht und Krampus, Kramperl und Schiach-Perchten: Scientific text on the tradition of Krampus in the region of Salzburg – includes a lively description of the fascination of being a Krampus – text written in 1997 and published in 1999
  • “Santa’s Companions” on mrshea.com
  • “Santa’s

The Origin of Krampus, Europe’s Evil Twist on Santa

During a Perchten festival in the western Austrian town of Kappl, on November 13, 2015, a guy costumed in a traditional Perchten costume and mask performs during a Perchten festival. During the months of November and January, people in the western Austrian regions dress up in Perchten (also known as Krampus or Tuifl in some places) costumes and march through the streets in order to execute a 1,500-year-old pagan rite to disperse the spirits of winter. DOMINIC EBENBICHLER/Reuters/Corbis Photographic Images A shaggy black body is topped with a disfigured, insane visage complete with bloodshot eyes.

As a cacophony of cowbells rings in the background, a dozen more men stomp through the snowy streets of Lienz, Austria, causing even more panic.

It is the town of Lienz’s yearly Krampus March, also known as PerchtenlauforKlaubaufe, that brings a centuries-old tradition back to life: young men from the town dress up as the mythological beast and parade through the streets in an ancient pagan ceremony designed to dispel the spirits of winter.

  • Known as the Krampuslauf (or Krampus Run) in Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the practice is seeing a rebirth in recent years, and it is also becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
  • In the end, according to Jeremy Seghers, an organizer of aKrampusnacht celebration being hosted for the first time in Orlando, Florida, there is no reason to be on the lookout when Santa Claus returns to town.
  • Photograph by Luka Dakskobler for Xinhua Press/Corbis Krampus himself has traditionally arrived on the night of December 5, accompanying St.
  • He and his saintly companion go from house to house all night.
  • According to legend, misbehaving children are flogged with birch branches during the Christmas season, or they can simply vanish after being thrown into Krampus’ sack and taken off to his cave where they will be tormented or devoured.
  • Nick’s yang.” “You’ve got the saint, and you’ve got the devil.
  • Instead, they may be traced back to pre-Germanic paganism in the area where they originated.

The Catholic Church sought to outlaw Krampus festivities around the 12th century because of Krampus’ likeness to the devil.

The conservative Christian Social Party of Austria launched a second round of eradication efforts in 1934, this time in Vienna.

Although the yearly celebration of the child-hunting Krampus may be entertaining for many, fears that refugees in the Alpine communities that celebrate Krampus may find the ritual frightening have spurred some municipalities to explore taming the terror.

However, despite the fact that the festival is well-liked, there have been fears that the new neighbors will be terrified of the ritual and its nightmare-inducing costumes.

In an article for the Telegraph, Rozina Sabur reports that refugee children in Lienz were invited to a presentation in which they learnt about the props, costumes, and traditions of Krampus.

According to him, “I believe it’s good that they’re trying to get the migrants accustomed to this type of situation.” “You can’t compel individuals to accept cultural practices that they don’t understand or for which they have no foundation or frame of reference.” Maybe you’ll be the next person to get into the Krampus mood this Christmas season.

After all, the dreadful haunting may very well be keeping an eye on you. Video Recommendations for Austrian Christmas Travel

Who is Krampus? Explaining Santa Claus’s Scary Christmas Counterpart

During a Perchten festival in the western Austrian community of Kappl, on November 13, 2015, a guy costumed in a traditional Perchten costume and mask performs. During the months of November and January, people in the western Austrian regions dress up in Perchten (also known as Krampus or Tuifl in some places) costumes and march through the streets in order to execute a 1,500-year-old pagan rite to disperse the spirits of the winter season. DOMINIC EBENBICHLER/Reuters/Corbis Photographic Collection.

  1. Its half-goat, half-demon heritage is evident in the giant horns that curve out from his head.
  2. It’s a mad sprint through the streets as the monsters chase laughing youngsters and adults alike, prodding them with sticks and terrifying some with the revelation that they’ve been wicked for the year.
  3. They march with cowbells in their hands, clad in fur coats and carved wooden masks.
  4. It has grown so popular in recent years that he has his own comic book series, parties, and even an upcoming film to promote himself.
  5. Images courtesy of Xinhua Press/Corbis photographer Luka Dakskobler In the tradition of the season, Krampus arrives on the night of December 5, accompanied by Saint Nicholas.
  6. Whereas Santa Claus is on hand to place candy in the shoes of good children and birch branches in the shoes of bad children, Krampus is known for punishing youngsters who have been misbehaving.
  7. Smithsonian.com quotes Seghers as saying, “The Krampus is the yin to St.
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As a result, it appeals to a latent macabre longing held by many individuals, which is diametrically opposed to the sweet Christmas that many of us were raised with.” Although Krampus is associated with Christmas, his origins are not.

It is said that his name comes from the German word krampen, which translates as “claw.” He is the son of Hel, the Norse goddess of the underworld, according to legends.

Because of Krampus’ likeness to the devil, the Catholic Church sought to have him expelled from the country during the 12th century.

Krampus, on the other hand, emerged into a seasonal force to be feared and adored alike.

When Krampus is slated to arrive in the Alpine villages where him is celebrated this year, an inflow of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan will coincide with the celebrations.

Rather of canceling the march, local officials chose to use the opportunity to educate the newcomers in the community.

Introducing Krampus to immigrants in Austria is a concept that Seghers is intrigued about.

You can’t force individuals to follow cultural norms that they don’t understand or for which they have no reference point.

It’s possible that this Christmas season, you’ll be the next to get into the Krampus mood. In the end, you never know if the dreadful haunt is looking over your shoulder. Recommended Videos for AustriaChristmas Travel

You better watch out.

St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children in the Catholic religion. His feast day comes in the first week of December, which served to further cement his relationship with the holiday season. The generous man was revered in many European societies, not only as a symbol of generosity and compassion to reward the virtuous, but also as a figure of dread to be dreaded by his scary opposites who punished the evil. The ferocious Krampus terrorizes parts of Germany and Austria, while other Germanic regions are home to the Belnickle and the Knecht Ruprecht, two black-bearded men who wield switches and beat youngsters.

  1. (Some of these volunteers, such as the Zwarte Pietin of the Netherlands, have recently been the subject of criticism.) Krampus’s name is derived from the German word krampen, which means claw, and he is considered to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology, according to certain sources.
  2. It is part of a centuries-old Christmas custom in Germany, where the holiday season begins as early as the first of December.
  3. Nicholas, who gave out sweets to youngsters.
  4. Krampus is said to appear in towns on the night of December 5, which is known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, in accordance with local legend.
  5. Nicholas Day (bad behavior).
  6. Nicholas to Santa Claus for further information on the history of St.
  7. Some people believe that it’s a method for humans to reconnect with their animalistic nature.
  8. A person costumed as the beast “becomes strange,” according to the author.

Krampus is coming to town

Nicholas, the patron saint of children in Catholicism, is celebrated on December 6. His feast day falls in the first week of December, which has contributed to his strong link with the holiday season to this day. The generous man was revered in many European civilizations, not only as a symbol of generosity and compassion to reward the virtuous, but also as a figure of terror to be feared by those who punished the wicked. The ferocious Krampus terrorizes parts of Germany and Austria, while other Germanic regions are terrorized by the Belnickle and the Knecht Ruprecht, two black-bearded men who wield switches and beat young children.

  • In recent years, some of these aid workers, such as the Dutch Zwarte Pietin, have drawn criticism.
  • As well as sharing qualities with other frightening, demonic creatures from Greek mythology, such as satyrs and fairies, the mythical beast has also been compared to a troll.
  • It is said that Krampus was established as a counter-figure to the generous St.
  • Instead, Krampus would smack “wicked” youngsters, throw them in a bag, and haul them off to his cave in the mountains.
  • Children check outside their doors the next day, on December 6, to see if theshoe or boot they’d put out the night before contains either presents (as a reward for good conduct) or a rod, as is customary on St.
  • See From St.

More modern versions of the tradition are practiced by drunken men dressed as devils in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, who take over the streets for aKrampuslauf —a Krampus Run of sorts, where people are chased through the streets by the “devils” during the holiday season.

Possibly, it is a method for people to reconnect with their animalistic nature.

According to António Carneiro, who talked to National Geographicmagazine about revived pagan rituals, such inclinations may be related to adopting “a dual personality.” He described how the person costumed as the beast “becomes mystic.”

Krampus: the Christmas Devil of Alpine Folklore

St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children in the Catholic faith. His feast day is in the first week of December, which contributed to his strong link with the holiday season. The generous man was revered in many European societies, not only as a symbol of generosity and compassion to reward the virtuous, but also as a figure of dread to be dreaded by those who punished the wicked. Parts of Germany and Austria are terrified of the wicked Krampus, while other Germanic regions are terrorized by the Belnickle and the Knecht Ruprecht, two black-bearded men who wield switches and beat youngsters to death.

  • (Some of these volunteers, such as Zwarte Pietin from the Netherlands, have recently been the subject of criticism.) Krampus’s name is derived from the German wordkrampen, which means claw, and he is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology, according to the legend.
  • The mythology is part of a centuries-old Christmas custom in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin as early as the first of December.
  • Nicholas, who gave out sweets to youngsters.
  • Krampus is said to appear in communities on the night of December 5, also known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, according to mythology.
  • Nicholas Day (bad behavior).
  • Nicholas to Santa Claus for additional information on the history of St.
  • Perhaps it is a means for people to reconnect with their animalistic side.

First Things First: Who is Saint Nicholas?

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children in the Catholic faith. His feast day comes in the first week of December, which has contributed to his strong link with the holiday season. Many European civilizations not only hailed the friendly man as a figure of generosity and kindness to reward the virtuous, but they also dreaded his scary rivals who punished the evil. Parts of Germany and Austria fear the ferocious Krampus, while other Germanic regions fear the Belnickle and the Knecht Ruprecht, two black-bearded men who wield switches and beat youngsters.

  1. (Some of these volunteers, such as Zwarte Pietin of the Netherlands, have recently been the subject of criticism.) Krampus’s name is derived from the German wordkrampen, which means claw, and he is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology.
  2. The mythology is part of a centuries-old Christmas custom in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin as early as the first week of December.
  3. Nicholas, who rewarded youngsters with sweets.
  4. Krampus is said to appear in communities on the night of December 5, also known as Krampusnacht or Krampus Night, according to mythology.
  5. (For additional information on the history of St.

Nicholas to Santa Claus.) In Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, a more contemporary interpretation of the custom includes inebriated men dressed as demons taking over the streets for aKrampuslauf —a Krampus Run of sorts, during which individuals are chased through the streets by the “devils.” Why terrify youngsters with a demonic, pagan monster?

According to António Carneiro, who talked to National Geographicmagazine about rejuvenated pagan traditions, such urges may be about acquiring “a dual personality.” He claims that the person disguised as the beast “becomes strange.”

Is Saint Nicholas the same as Santa Claus?

No, not at all. This American invention is an amalgamation of European history and tradition with American storytelling. Santa Claus is the result of European immigrants (primarily of Dutch, British, and German origin) sharing their customs and traditions with one another in the melting pot of nineteenth-century America, resulting in the creation of the holiday tradition known as “Santa Claus.” The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clark Moore, which portrays Saint Nicholas as a “jolly old elf” clad entirely in fur, with a big belly, white beard, and pink cheeks, is the primary source of the American picture of Santa Claus.

  • St.
  • The term Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch nickname for Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, which is a shortened version of the full name of Saint Nikolaas (Saint Nicholas) (Saint Nicholas).
  • Martin Luther, a protestant reformer who lived in the sixteenth century, popularized this custom.
  • Nicholas, such as Santa Claus, who became increasingly popular.
  • Nicholas include Grandfather Frost, who is known in Slovenian as Dedek Mraz and is a fictional character.
  • With popular culture, Grandfather Frost is represented as a slender guy in a long white coat with a brown fuzzy Russian kuma cap on his head.
  • However, it is important not to mistake the Eastern European Grandfather Frost with the British Father Christmas, who started as a pagan god who brought spring to the world.
  • He is shown as an elderly gentleman with a long white beard and a blue hooded robe, who bestows presents on deserving youngsters throughout the year.

Krampus: the Christmas Devil of Austrian Folklore

To be precise, no. In the 19th century, European immigrants (mostly from the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany) shared their customs and traditions with one another in the melting pot that was nineteenth-century America, and the result was the creation of Santa Claus, a fusion of European history and tradition and American storytelling. In the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” written by Clement Clark Moore, Santa Claus is described as a “jolly old elf” with a big belly, white beard, and rosy cheeks.

  • For artist Haddon Sundblom, who designed the contemporary picture of Santa for Coca Cola’s “Thirst Knows No Season” advertising campaign in 1931, the poem served as his source of inspiration.
  • Nicholas’s freshly described vision provided the groundwork for the creation of our modern-day Santa Claus.
  • Historically, the Germanic nameChristkindlorChirstkindl (Christ Child) may be traced back to the word of the Christ Child in English.
  • Martin Luther, a protestant reformer who lived in the sixteenth century, popularized this custom.
  • Nicholas, such as Santa Claus, increased as Protestantism grew in popularity and Catholic customs such as Saints’ Days diminished.
  • Nicholas.
  • Father Frost is commonly shown as a thin guy with long white coat and brown hairy Russian kumas, as seen in the Disney animated film Grandfather Frost & the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Caution should be exercised in not conflating Eastern European Grandfather Frost with the British Father Christmas, who started as a pagan god who brought spring.

He is shown as an elderly gentleman with a long white beard and a blue hooded robe, who bestows presents on deserving youngsters around the world.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

The greatest way to enjoy this centuries-old folk tradition nowadays is to participate in a Krampuslauf, which is roughly translated as a Krampus Run. Traditionally, Krampus runs are performed in the Alpine area, which encompasses southern Bavaria, southern Austria, and Slovenia, from mid-November to mid-December (with many taking place on December 5th or 6th, which coincides with St. Nicholas’ Day). This year’s Krampus Runs will take place in major towns such as Munich and Salzburg, and will consist of parades that will pass through the city’s prominent Christmas Market.

  1. With the performers frequently dragging onlookers into the procession, playing with their hair, or striking them with a birch-barrel switch, it’s an immersive experience.
  2. The Krampuspassen each appoint one person to carry a sign carrying the name of the organization and the location of the sign, such as the Alt Gnigler Krampus Perchten Passas, which is shown in the photo above.
  3. Nicholas and is occasionally accompanied by the Christkindl (Christmas tree).
  4. Krampusse can be identified from Perchten by the presence of two horns on their masks, although Perchten often have four to ten horns.
  5. No two of the hand carved wooden masks are precisely same, and each one demonstrates amazing craftsmanship in its own way.
  6. Some masks are so realistic that it’s difficult to believe that they aren’t genuine.
  7. Keeping a watchful check on these wild characters when you’re at a safe distance is thus advised.
  8. Did you notice a twitch in your ear?
  9. It’s possible that something more than merely tradition is still alive.
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Watch the tradition come alive in this video by the New York Times:

While St. Nick gives the presents, it is Krampus who brings the misery. Here are some interesting facts about Santa’s demonic sidekick that you might not have known.

1. Krampus is a Christmas demon.

Who exactly is Krampus? For many people in Austria and throughout the German-speaking Alpine area, the demonic persona is an important component of the Christmas season. He resembles a demonic figure, complete with lengthy horns and a goaty beard, much like the traditional depictions of Satan.

You can come see him posing innocently on an agreeing card or inchocolates or sculptures that have been recreated. On the other hand, you could come upon a parade of Krampuses creeping through town, burdened with bells and chains, scaring bystanders or flogging them with bundles of sticks.

2. December 5 belongs to Krampus. If you survive, you might get presents.

Krampusnacht is celebrated on December 5, and it is the day when Krampus rules. AKrampuslauf(Krampus run) is a traditional German tradition in which young men from the localKrampusgruppedress in elaborate costumes and wear carved wooden Krampus masks, cowbells, chains, and other props while running through the streets, terrifying and occasionally striking passersby. According to mythology, Krampus will spend the night at each residence, making his rounds. It is possible that he could leave bundles of sticks for troublesome youngsters — or that he will simply strike them with the sticks.

The following day, however, isNikolastaug, also known as St.

Nicholas whose Dutch name, Sinterklass, eventually became “Santa Claus” in English.

that is, all of the ones who haven’t already been beaten, cursed, or drowned, that is, of course.

3. Krampus may be a monster, but he pals around with Santa.

Originally, Krampus was a strictly pagan creature, supposed to be the son of Hel from Norse mythology, and he was associated with the holiday season. In the course of time, however, he became associated with St. Nicholas as a sidekick, in a manner comparable to characters such as Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands and Knecht Ruprecht in Germany. Since the 17th century, the two have been associated in a kind of Christmasy yin-yang, with Krampus serving as St. Nick’s evil sidekick and vice versa. On Krampusnacht, dressed-up versions of the two customarily visit residences and businesses in the same neighborhood.

4. Krampus revelers will hit, push, and whip spectators at their parades.

Unlike the Krampus of mythology, who lashes people with his birch bundle, the real Krampus is a devil in his own right. Surely the dressed human Krampus revelers would refrain from such acts of brutality, wouldn’t they? Wrong. Here’s how one visitor described the SalzburgKrampuslauf, who had expected nothing more than costumed buffoonery and ended himself with welts across his body: As the Krampusse stormed through the Old City portion of Salzburg, the narrow streets were jammed with people on foot.

A determined Krampus would chase anyone who fled and tried to take sanctuary in a shop or restaurant.

Despite the fact that there were so many easy targets, we managed to escape relatively unscathed once more.

In three cities, this reporter witnessed Krampuslaufs, where he witnessed “savage beatings” to people’s legs and thighs and a Krampus chasing down and sitting on a teenage boy, among other things.

Although it is terrifying, it is all in good fun, and hey, at the very least they are aiming for the lower legs.

5. Krampus’s appearance varies, but he often has one human foot and one cloven hoof.

Unlike the Krampus of mythology, who lashes people with his birch bundle, the real Krampus is a demon in the traditional sense. It’s safe to assume that the dressed human Krampus revelers would refrain from such acts of harm. Wrong. According to one visitor, who expected nothing more than costumed buffoonery and ended up with welts, the SalzburgKrampuslauf was as follows: In Salzburg’s Old City, the tiny streets were jam-packed with people as the Krampusse made its way into the city center. Many folks were taken completely by surprise and responded in fear.

Even with so many easy targets, we were able to get away with only minor injuries once again this time around.

In three cities, this writer witnessed Krampuslaufs, where he witnessed “savage beatings” to people’s legs and thighs and a Krampus chasing down and sitting on a teenage boy’s thighs.

6. Some Austrian households had year-round décor meant to warn kids of Krampus.

Krampus would bring gold-painted bundles of birch sticks to youngsters, according to a 1958 article on the Krampus tale in Styria (a state in southeast Austria). The twigs he used to beat people were just little replicas of the larger bundle he used to bash individuals. It was customary for the families to display their birch branches on their walls throughout the remainder of the year as a decorative element as well as to remind children to behave well. This is noted in the paper, which is quite formal, as being done “especially in those homes when the children’s behavior justifies the use of physical punishment.”

7. Krampus was once banned by fascists.

Krampus would bring gold-painted bundles of birch twigs to youngsters, according to a 1958 article on the Krampus tale in Styria (a region in southeast Austria). The twigs he used to beat victims were just little replicas of the larger bundle he used to hit them. In order to keep their children in line, the families decided to hang birch twigs on their walls for the remainder of the year. “These twigs are particularly common in homes when the children’s behavior calls for corporal punishment,” according to the essay, which is fairly formal in its tone.

8. Krampus masks are valuable pieces of folk art.

TyrolianTarget, to be sure, has some cheap plastic horns you might use, but that’s not exactly in keeping with the theme. Traditionally, the masks worn by participants in a Krampus parade are made of wood and are meticulously fashioned by master carvers. To give you an example, Ludwig Schnegg designs and crafts the masks worn by all 80 members of the Haiming Krampusgruppe, and he’s been doing it since 1981.

Antique masks frequently end up in museums, whether they are folklore museums or museums that are specifically devoted to Krampus. Krampus museums may be found in the municipalities ofKitzbüheland and Stallhofen, which both have collections of historical costumes and masks.

9. You can celebrate Krampus even if you’re in the U.S.

Despite his German origins, Krampus has grown increasingly famous on this side of the pond, appearing on shows likeVenture Brothers andGrimm as well as TheColbert Report and American Dad, and there is even a Krampus-inspired horror film. You may also participate in a Krampus party, a Krampus costume contest, or even a traditional Krampuslauf, which is becoming increasingly popular in American towns and cities. The Krampus scene in general, and in Los Angeles in particular, is thriving. Of all, for some folks, the holidays are already terrifying enough without having to contend with a demon beast with a proclivity for physical violence.

Krampus: Saint Nicholas’ Dark Companion

Krampus is becoming increasingly famous on our side of the water; he has been on shows such asVenture Brothers,Grimm,Supernatural,TheColbert Report, andAmerican Dad, and there is even a Krampus-inspired horror film in the works! You may also participate in a Krampus party, a Krampus costume contest, or even a traditional Krampuslauf, which is becoming more common in American cities every year. There is a flourishing Krampus scene in Los Angeles, in particular. The holidays are frightening enough for some individuals without having to contend with a demon beast who has a predilection for physical violence on top of it all!

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