Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.
I want to thank Chris / Last Deviant for the heads up about the subject of this post. Side Note: Last Deviant created the Zombie Popcorn logo.
[singlepic id=943 w=320 h=240 float=right] I have never been a huge fan of the traditional Christmas story of Saint Nicholas making toys for every good boys and girl in the world. True, I love the fruits of his labor but I always felt something was missing. Like we were only told half of the story. Today, I found out we were only told half of the story. Did you ever wonder what happened to the bad children and come to think of it what about the bad adults? Have you ever heard of Krampus? Well, let me tell you the other side of Christmas, the dark-side.
Krampus is a mythical creature who accompanies Saint Nicholas in various regions of the world during the Christmas season. Krampus acts in conjunction with Saint Nicholas; the latter gives gifts to good children, while the Krampus gives warnings and punishments to the bad children and adults.
[singlepic id=946 w=320 h=240 float=left] The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine regions, Krampus is represented by a demon-like creature accompanying Saint Nicholas. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly in the evening of December 5, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition also includes birching by Krampus, especially of young females.
Krampus is not the only companion of Santa Claus, there is a huge list from around the world.
Belsnickel is a companion of Santa Claus of the Palatinate in northwestern Germany. [singlepic id=945 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Belsnickel is a man wearing fur which covers his entire body, and he sometimes wears a mask with a long tongue. He is a rather scary creature who visits children at Christmas time and delivers socks or shoes full of candy, but if the children were not good, they will find coal and/or switches in their stockings instead.
If you are concerned why you have not heard about Krampus or Belsnickel, it is because this creature holds its tradition amongst the Germanic peoples. The dark companions of good ol’ Saint Nick is not limited to one area. In the Czech Republic, St. Nicholas is accompanied by the Čert (Devil) and Anděl (Angel) and the French have Père Fouettard.
The French companion of St. Nicholas, Père Fouettard (the whipfather), is said to be the butcher of three children.
St. Nicholas discovered the murder and resurrected the three children. He also shamed Père Fouettard, who, in repentance, became a servant of St. Nicholas. Fouettard travels with the saint and punishes naughty children by whipping them. In modern times he distributes small whips, instead of thrashings, or gifts. Knecht Ruprecht is commonly cited as a servant and helper, and is sometimes associated with Saint Rupert. According to some stories, Ruprecht began as a farmhand; in others, he is a wild foundling whom St. Nicholas raises from childhood. Ruprecht sometimes walks with a limp, because of a childhood injury. Often, his black clothes and dirty face are attributed to the soot he collects as he goes down chimneys.
So the next time you put out soymilk and cookies for Santa – don’t forget to leave a couple extra cookies and a glass for the demon or child murderer who is entering your home!
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