Krampus in His Pocket


Krampus in His Pocket

Krampus in His Pocket

In the Christmas Card above,
we see Krampus in Santa’s pocket.
Oh, maybe he is not in the pocket
after all.  Now he is under Santa’s
arm…  Perhaps it’s a toy Krampus
that Santa has tucked under his arm.
Can you see him ?  Can you see the
little Krampus creature with his
black horns and his little outstretched
arms ?

What a cozy relationship they seem
to have.  The toy Krampus all tucked
up under Santa’s warm arm.

The dark black Krampus prefigures
the devilish creature that supposedly
accompanies Santa on his visit to
the children at Christmas time.

Santa brings the rewards and gifts,
while Krampus punishes the bad children.

But the Krampus in his pocket appears
to be hidden. It seems to be obscure.
A person may not even see Krampus unless
he looks very closely.

So too, today, the people have to look
closely to see the evil origins of Christmas.
It’s not glaring or obvious – but rather
like a dark evil doll sticking out of Santa’s
pocket.  Hard to see –  But it’s there.

A Mutual Friendship
at “Christmas-Time”

krampus and santa in red

In Europe, Krampus  began to gain popularity
in Christmas cards portraying him in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Unlike the United States where only
Santa Claus keeps his list of “naughty
and nice” – where the penalty for being
a bad child is just a lump of coal in
one’s stocking. In Austrian culture the
job is split in two, with Saint Nicholas
taking care of the good children while
a goat-horned beast known as Krampus
will come to beat bad children with
rusty chains and take them away in his sack.

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.

Images of Krampus usually show him
with a basket on his back used to
carry away bad children and dump them
into the pits of Hell.

“In the Alps, the relationship between
the Roman Catholic Church and paganism
has been an ambivalent one.  Some customs
were actively assimilated over the centuries.
Many customs have evolved into more modern
— Wikipedia

“In the Alpine regions,
the Krampus is represented
by an incubus demon accompanying
Saint Nicholas.”
— Wikipedia

A Look at one of the
“Lesser Known” aspects
of Christmas-Time


A Look at one of the
“Lesser Known” aspects
of Christmas-Time

A look at one of the lesser known
aspects of Christmas-time.

When children are bad these days
that usually means that they are
threatened with no presents when
Santa Claus does his rounds.
Punishment enough, one might think.
Some cultures, however, had less
lenient methods of dealing with
errant offspring.

One such deterrent was that Krampus
might pay them a visit.  Think of the
Grinch with a really, really bad temper
and you are getting close.  Add some
horns and more than a dash of an Orc
from Lord of the Rings and you are
just about there!

He has been around for a long time
and, as the old Christmas postcards
show, that he isn’t someone you would
really like to bump in to on a dark night!

Christmas is rife with Germanic
and Scandinavian traditions,
some of which, in different forms,
go back to pagan solstice celebrations
that predate Christianity’s arrival
in northern Europe. Evergreen trees,
Yule logs and mistletoe come to mind.

Long before people used mistletoe
to steal kisses from the unwary,
the plant was best known for killing
Baldr, the Norse god of light and beauty.

As years passed, these traditions
became part of Christmas, as did Krampus.
But Krampus was perhaps just a bit too
wild to settle down in what was becoming
an increasingly popular Christian holiday

Everyone has heard of Santa.
But probably few have heard of his partner,
the “bad cop” in our little tale.
He goes by the name Krampus.

A scary, devilish, goat-like fellow
with long horns and a bad attitude,
Krampus originated centuries ago
in German-speaking areas of Europe,
where he was especially popular in
the Alps.

While Santa bribes children into good
behavior with the promise of presents,
Krampus keeps them in line with threats
of punishment. Santa carries a bag full
of toys. Krampus carries a bag filled
with naughty boys and girls.
“by the 1800s church leaders had
marginalized Krampus, making St. Nick
into a solo act.”
-National Geographic
Marc Silver

By the time German Christmas traditions
made their way to England, and later into
America, Krampus was no longer a major
part of the festivities.

Anglo-American Christmas celebrations
began adopting German customs like
Christmas trees in the 1800s, after
Great Britain had resorted to importing
monarchs from Germany. German practices
became even more prominent following
Queen Victoria’s marriage to the
German-born Prince Albert.

By the time Charles Dickens published
“A Christmas Carol” in 1843, Christmas
looked much like it does now, with no
Krampus in sight. Ebenezer Scrooge was
as close as they dared to come to the old
cranky and evil Krampus.

According to Marc Silver,
the Austrian state of Salzburg
now has more than 180 Krampus clubs
devoted to celebrating the long-lost
Christmas figure. Most have sprung
up in just the past 20 years.

But in America, Krampus is still just
a faint memory of the past – that has
been hidden so well, that most people
will deny that he ever existed on the
holiday that we now call Christmas.

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