Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Ah! the yin and yang of this holiday season.

I guess it is to be expected when Christianity decided to shoehorn their most important celebration into the same time frame as the pagan bacchanalia of Winter Solstice. Which brings me to Krampus.

I first learned of Krampus by reading the back of a beer bottle, specifically the back of Southern Tiers Krampus brew (it is sometimes very informative to read the backs of beer bottles). Krampus was the draconian Austrian version of St. Nick's (Santa Claus's) enforcer - if you were a good girl or boy you received the beneficence of St. Nick -  however, if you were bad girl or boy you were pursued to the ends of the earth by a horrific, horned creature, Krampus. The story varied as to the punishment meted out by Krampus - the worst was capture by Krampus, collection into a hamper borne on Krampus's back, and then whisked off, never to be seen again on this mortal earth. Wow! that is one over-the-top tale to scare the bejeezus out of the young'uns.

From Wikipedia, the origin of Krampus as explained by Maurice Bruce;
"There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches so well preserved."
Here is actor Christoph Waltz (never seen Christoph in a movie - I don't watch many movies but Christoph was in a Tarantino movie which makes it even less likely - Tarantino movies have too much mindless blood, guts and gore for me) explaining Krampus on the Jimmy Fallon show.

The Austrians have revived the tradition of Krampus. There is now a Krampuslauf - or Krampus Run (or in Americanese, the time when a drunk biker gang took over your town- sans bikes). In many alpine towns in Austria and Bavaria in early December men put on costumes of the various permutations of Krampus and transform into the nasty, scary Krampus persona, attacking parade spectators and giving young children nightmares weeks out.

The New York Times did this video on the Krampuslauf, as well as highlighting the passion and skill of a wood carver who makes the wooden, gargoyle-like, Krampus masks.

Wishing all of Earwigoagin's readers, happy holidays, happy Winter Solstice, or happy whatever way you celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. I just hope you've been just good enough to avoid a visit from Krampus this year.


Alden Smith said...

There are some cultural practises no doubt precious to the local inhabitants for which I am very glad if they remain in the Northern hemisphere! LOL

Dieharddinghysailor said...

I could go on a lot about belief systems, but I will restrain my self and just wish you and your readers a sensational Holiday season and Happy sailing for 2016..

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