Mythical Creatures Series
You know that old saying where being naughty means you’ll get coal or a stick in your stocking at Christmas… or maybe that’s what I heard growing up. Well I’m thinking this may be linked to the Krampus, who is quick to punish those kids who have misbehaved during the year. Watch out little kiddies, if this guy visits your home run away.
What is it?
The legend of Krampus is well recognized in Apline and other European countries. During the festive, Christmas season the Krampus sends out warnings and punishments to bad children, compared to St. Nicholas who gives goods kids gifts. The Krampus is represented as a beast, and is said to accompany St. Nicholas in early December, rattling his rusty chains to scare children and dish out his punishments.
The stories of Krampus has become so well known, that he has gained himself a holiday. December 6th, is Krampusnacht, a holiday celebrated in Alpine regions of Germany and Austria.
Each country has a slightly different variation on the Krampus.
In Hungary, the Krampusz is often portrayed as mischievous rather than evil devil. He wields a Virgács, which is a bunch of golden coloured twigs bound together. Hungarian parents often frighten children with getting a Virgács instead of presents, if they do not behave.
In Croatia, when a child receives a gift from St. Nicolas he is given a golden branch to represent his good deeds throughout the year; however, if the child has misbehaved, Krampus will take the gifts for himself and leave only a silver branch to represent the child’s bad acts. Children are commonly scared into sleeping during the time St. Nicolas brings gifts by being told that if they are awake, Krampus will think they have been bad and will take them away in his sack.
These evenings are called Krampus Night or Krampusnacht. It is common in some European countries for people to dress up like a Krampus, terrifying kids and getting plastered on the sweet liquor.
The Krampus is sometimes alone, other times accompanies St. Nicholas. If he does visit your home, it is customary to serve a Krampus schnapps.
Santa may give gifts to good kids, but the Krampus punishes the bad children and those who are extremely bad will be carried away in his sack.
While the Krampus may take different forms, a general description has him with dark hair, dressed in fur, has cloven hooves, horns of a goat and a long, pointed tongue. He carries chains and rattles them – this symbolises his bind to the devil by the Christian Church. He sometimes has a sack or washtub on his back used to cart off evil children for transporting to Hell, drowning or for eating later.
Appearances In Culture
- PVP Online recently had a funny comic on the Krampus. Check it out here.
- In the arcade game CarnEvil, released in 1998, the boss for the “Rickety Town” level is named Krampus. He resembles a large, horned, clawed, demonic Santa Claus clad in green, and attacks by hurling flaming coals and swinging his bag at the player. CarnEvil- Rickety Town boss
- G4 (TV channel) created a Christmas commercial in 2003 featuring Krampus. In it some carolers sing about Krampus while he enters a house putting the bad children in his sack. G4 Winter 2003 Commercials (Krampus commercial begins ~4:21)
- In A Very Venture Christmas, a 2004 Christmas episode of the television cartoon series The Venture Bros., Krampus is accidentally released from a book of ancient occult magic and wreaks havoc on Doctor Thaddeus Venture’s Christmas party. The Venture Bros: A Very Venture Christmas Episode
- The December 5, 2004 Something Positive webcomic accurately described Krampus. Something Positive 12-05-04: Krampus!
- A character named Banjo in the graphic novel Chickenhare (first issue released in 2006) is a Krampus. Dark Horse’s Chickenhare Getting Animated By Sony
- In the 2007 Christmas episode of the TV series, Supernatural, the main characters hunt what they believe to be the Krampus.3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas
- On the 2007 album by indie band Sunset Rubdown titled Random Spirit Lover, a picture of the Krampus is featured on the back of the cover. Interviews: Sunset Rubdown and Flickr Image of the back cover
- On December 9, 2009 The Colbert Report made a number of jokes about Krampus and “the war on Christmas.” The Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude – Hallmark & Krampus
- On December 5, 2011 the online comic PvP began a story arc in which the character Scratch Fury takes on the role of the Krampus. PvPonline » Archive » Good Tidings We Bring
- You’re a mean one, Mr. Krampus in the style of Chuck Jones; Krampus (the Grinch) is depicted carrying two children (from Bewitched Bunny) in his barrel.
- Krampus birching Hitler while Mussolini and Tōjō peek out from the basket, in the retro style of WWII propaganda posters.
- For details on the YouTube video below, check out the blog: http://ferrebeekeeper.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/krampus/ Enjoy, and just a warning, the ending is a bit vicious.
Did you know? The early Catholic Church discouraged celebrations based around the wild goat-like creatures, and during the Inquisition efforts were made to stamp them out.
Did you know? The word Krampus (sometimes spelled “Grampus”) is a derivation of the old German word for “claw.”
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