Friday, December 3, 2010
VORSICHT! Hier kommt Krampus! (Watch out!)
In some south-central regions of Europe, Sankt Nikolaus travels about with a side-kick named Krampus. This is historically a horned, long-tongued man-beast with animal legs, who deals out the coal -- and worse -- to those children who have "forgotten" to behave their parents during the year.
Interspersed with real footage of Krampus-Sieges on Sankt Nikolaustag (below) are postcards and other illustrations of this man-beast, often with Krampus carting children away. That's because some of the legends involve children whom Krampus brings deep into the woods, only to abandon them, leaving them to try to make their own way back home.
Do you suppose these kind of stories helped to encourage good behavior ?
If you dare watch, you'll see for yourself how these legends return in parade form today. Various communities, especially in Switzerland, send Krampus delegations into the streets on Nikolaustag (December 6). Certain candidates from the crowd are actually attacked with branches and sticks. I imagine that these folks do remember their encounters with Krampus for a long while, helping perpetuate the legend of Krampus when they tell about them each year at this time.
--> Might you decide to stay home on Nikolaustag?