Krampus is coming to town…

Krampus Is Coming To Town…-By Angelique Duncan

He has a cloven hoof, covered in fur, horns and an inordinately long devils tongue and pointed tail. He rattles chains, rings bells, and carries a broom switch and a dark cloth bag or basket on his back. If you’re naughty he’s coming for you! He is Krampus. Although demonic in appearance he is not evil. He is the conscience of the Winter Holiday Season. He travels with St. Nicolas, or Santa Claus as he is sometimes known, and on occasion with a winged angel.

Krampus emerged from pre Christian Germanic tradition and has held a controversial position in holiday history. He has been known by many names, Grampus, Klaubauf, Bellsnichol, Krampusz, Wubartl or Bartel. In early history during the Inquisition he was banned by the church and religion. Later Austrian Fascist and social conservatives outlawed him. In modern times religious conservatives in America have discouraged his presence and deemed him evil and glorifying to the devil. Social conservatives advocate that he is too “scary” and inappropriate in his appearance for children. Despite this Krampus has endured and is enjoying resurgence in popularity.

Legend has it in variations depending on region and era that he travels with St. Nicholas on the annual winter visit to children. St Nicholas delivers sweets and gifts to those children who have been virtuous and good. To those who have been naughty Krampus delivers switches and coal. The folklore goes on to state that if a child was particularly ill willed or a considerable brat in nature Krampus would beat them with the chains and broom switch or the worse possible punishment of all. He would scoop them up in his bag or toss them in his basket and take them away to the Black Forest. Some say he would detain the children and lash them for their offenses. Others tell that he would eat them for his Christmas supper.

Krampus serves as conscience that there are consequences for ones actions. His image instills a reminder that even if one thinks they are “getting away” with their crimes, St Nicholas and Krampus are ever present watching. Come December 24th, reward or punishment will be served.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects.Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

A Haunting At Christmas

A Haunting At Christmas-By Debbi Decker

The stockings are hung, the tree is decorated and the fire is flickering. Gather ‘round. It is time for a ghost story.
What?! Wait! It’s Christmas!
Not the time of year for that kind of thing!
We want stories of Santa, and Rudolph!

Believe it or not, telling stories of hauntings and ghosts during the Christmas season was a popular Victorian pass time. You are perhaps familiar with the story written by Charles Dickens and published in 1843, titled “A Christmas Carol”. The story not only features three different ghosts, but many historians also believe that publication of this story brought about the mid-Victorian revival of lost Christmas traditions and beliefs. This Victorian revival drew heavily upon the old pagan symbols such as the Yule log, caroling, the holly and the ivy, and the “Father Christmas”, the precursor of our modern-day Santa Claus. All of these practices had their roots in pagan festivals such as Yule and Sol Invictus, and it was believed that during the Solstice season, the barriers of the earth are at their thinnest and ghosts cross over to complete unfinished business.

Merry Olde England is awash with tales of Christmas hauntings. Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, has been sighted each year on Christmas Day near Hever Castle, her ancestral home. The White Lady of Cornwall appears each year on the day of the Winter Solstice, and it is said that to see her is to bring misfortune. Small white swine or pigs with red ears are said to cross the road every year on Christmas Eve in Calcutt, Wiltshire. These, and stories like these, were told during the Christmas season each year.

It’s almost a lost art. There are, however, some more modern instances that recall the practice of telling ghostly Christmas tales. Dr. Seuss’ 1957 publication of “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”. Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” which was aired in movie theaters in 1993. And, have you ever truly listened to the words to that popular Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? This song was written in 1963 by Eddie Pola and George Wyle, and recorded by Andy Williams. I call your attention to this verse:

“There’ll be parties for hosting,
Marshmallows for toasting, and
Caroling out in the snow.
There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of
The glories of Christmases long, long ago.”

The stockings are hung and the tree is decorated. The fire is flickering. Let us gather together, revive an almost lost art, and tell tales of ghosts and hauntings this Christmas season.

Debbie Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbie Decker.