Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas Countdown, Traditions and Trivia Day Twenty Two

Hello Friends!

Nearly there ~ here is today's Advent picture and scripture ~~~


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I don't know what it is with the northern Europeans but they certainly do have some very unfriendly and frightening characters in their Christmas lore! Over the last few days one name keeps popping up everywhere, and that is Krampus, so I decided to investigate.  I really do not like what I found, I had not heard of this dreadful character before, but have decided to tell you about him anyway. Like the Mari Lwyd of Wales, which I wrote about earlier, it is something that belongs more in Hallowe'en than Christmas.

So who, or what is Krampus?  He is an anthropomorphic half goat half demon figure from areas of Europe that include Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Northern Italy.  He is a sort of companion to Saint Nicholas, but Krampus is the one who punishes all the children who have been naughty.  In some areas where the Feast of Saint Nicholas is celebrated on December 6th, the preceding evening is the Night of Krampus, or Krampusnacht, when the beast roams the streets seeking out children who have been bad to give them gifts of coal into shoes left outside for him to find {another common theme in Europe for naughty children} Being the stuff of nightmares, in some countries this creature with his horns, dark hair, and fangs, comes with a chain and bells that he lashes about, along with a bundle of birch sticks meant to swat naughty children. He then hauls the bad kids down to the underworld.

For many years Krampus's frightening presence was suppressed both by the the Catholic Church who forbade the celebrations, and by fascists in World War II Europe found Krampus despicable because it was considered a creation of the Social Democrats.  However, of late, there is a resurgence in Krampus's popularity and books have been written and a film made of this demonic Christmas character.

Personally, I don't understand the necessity, or the logic, behind such scary stuff, especially when aimed at young children, but who are we to question the traditions of centuries?  I give you my word, no more evil Christmas characters!
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Moving on to Iceland where tonight's eleventh Yuletide Lad is Doorway Sniffer who will be here between 22nd December - 4th January
Also known as Gáttaþefur and Keyhole Sniffer, he has an enormous nose and a very good sense of smell. He loves the smell of cakes and Laufabrauð being baked, and will stand at the door using his great sense of smell to sniff out any cakes he can steal.

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo

6 comments:

  1. A bit of a Zwarte Piet character.

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    1. I think this one makes Zwarte Piet look like a saint!

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  2. I guess these traditions began to scare children into being good. Personally, I feel it borders on dare I say, abuse. Children were treated very differently hundreds of years ago. I'm so glad we have moved away from some of this thinking. I'm quite surprised to hear of Krampus' revival.
    The Keyhole Sniffer sounds mild in comparison.
    Thank you for researching these interesting tales, Deb. xoxo ♥

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Martha Ellen. In an earlier post I told how the Icelandic government intervened to make the Yule Lads less threatening. Some of the illustrations of Krampus {online} scared me! He is a very frightening character, but that said I know of several children who are intimidated and even frightened by Santa!
      It's a funny old world in which we live
      ~~~Deb xoxo

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  3. I guess the scary characters are to keep the little ones in line and behaving. I think they go too far in the scary department, but then I am a big baby. lol

    Darlene

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    1. Agree, my friend. I'm the one with you, hiding behind the sofa ~~~ shaking!
      Hugs, Deb xoxo

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments