Yes, it is only mid-October, but I figure that’s giving you approximately 2.5 months to get your shit together or come the evening of December 24th, you’ll be forced deal with……
To be more specific, this menacing looking dude:
Krampus was new to me until a campy movie of the same name was released two years ago. I watched it for the first time this morning in a fit of boredom. It’s a somewhat Interesting flick, in that it’s very dark, with dark humor that had me entertained just enough to keep the remote out of my hand for an hour and 38 minutes. When I first learned of the movie, I thought the title by virtue of the spelling , is Latin in nature, but it isn’t.
It’s comes to us from legends that swirl around Europe….from as far west as Germany and Northern Italy, and eastward to Croatia. Krampus IS the ultimate cautionary tale for kids…..adults, too. As the story goes, he’ll incur his evil wrath on December 24th to anyone who loses their Christmas spirit, especially the months right before the holiday. The Christmas spirit is easily defined: it’s giving more than taking, it’s believing in the inherent good in people and a belief in the prospect of miracles, even under the gloomiest and most dire circumstances.
Folklore tells us that Krampus is a tall, horned figure that perpetually keeps his mouth open to show his scary, gnarly fangs. He’s an imposing looking thing that’s half-goat, half-demon with cloven hooves and wrapped in chains, thought to symbolize the perpetual connection to the Devil.
Sometimes Krampus appears with a black sack or a basket or cage strapped to his back. Legend says he uses this to snatch bad children from their homes in order to drown them, eat them or deliver them non-stop to the closet portal to Hell.
Krampus, as you might have deduced by now, is at the opposite end of the spectrum where the kindly, jolly, old St. Nicholas dwells. St. Nick gave birth to the story of Santa Claus and all the variations there in. For example, he’s called Father Christmas in the U.K., Père Noël in France and kids in Athens call him Άγιος Βασίλης, but that’s completely Greek to me.
The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists postulate its pre-Christian origin. So, obviously, Krampus” roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region. His name originates with the German word krampen, which means “claw,”. Donecsay its traditions can be traced back to Norse mythology. He’s the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. However, Wikipedia failed to tell me how it locked horns with Christmas and spread throughout Europe. I would imagine the diaspora of the tale was spread through desperate parents who needed an affective con job that could turn unruly children into little saints.
Well, there you go. You now have a B.A. In all things Krampus.
So, come Thanksgiving when radio stations, Sirius satellite and the Hallmark channel go full on with Christmas programming 24/7, keep the movie Krampus in mind. After the cartoons tell your kids that Rudolph Saves Christmas, that Santa Claus Is Coming To Town or when Bing Crosby croons that he’s dreaming of a White Christmas, go to Netflix and rent Krampus and make the kiddos watch it; especially the unruly ones who defy the classic Santa Claus song by pouting, crying and refusing to watch out despite telling them why. And add to the experience, by making them watch it late at night….in the dark, preferably during a storm.
Make them watch it twice if you have to. And maybe, just maybe, the next day, you just might find that little Bethany and Ferguson have become the reincarnations of Mother Theresa or Albert Schweitzer.
At least until December 26th.