So Christmas, my friends, is not rest for the weary..
But there is an even darker creature who lurks behind your Christmas tree while you innocently sip on warm egg nog: Krampus.
Krampus is the Christmas devil who haunts children..
Krampus is not a very nice creature.. Santa Claus brings presents to children who were good.. Krampus punishes those who were not. He puts the children, those especially too naughty that even coal will not suffice, into his bag and carries them to his lair.
When I was a children in a new closed down elementary school in Pennsylvania named Holy Spirit, we had a yearly regiment of putting out shoes in the hallway during a particular time of day and listening for bells. We were told that St. Nick would be coming around to give candy to good kids. You did not want a wooden stick, though--we were not told by teachers then that Krampus was the one who would give the sign that you were a bad child during the past year.. and later we found out that the school janitor was St Nick anyway, so the whole episode became defunct ..
But that little charade was a part of a grand tradition in some parts of the world--the first week of December is when Krampus gets his holiday. People dress up like the Christmas demon and have wild parties.. As custom in some nations, such as Austria, Romania, and Croatia, younger men will dress as Krampus and roam the street at night to play morbid tricks on children.. they will walk with rusty bells and chains.
In 2013, there were more and more articles popping up on the Internet concerning the Krampustime traditions. Suddenly, it seemed, Santa's sleigh broke down and a new Christmastime hero was being heralded.. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC went back in time to explain how Krampus came to be, and how he would whip bad children into being nice, a horrid thought when you consider it.. NAT GEO wrote,
Krampus was created as a counterpart to kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets. Krampus, in contrast, would swat "wicked" children and take them away to his lair.
According to folklore, Krampus purportedly shows up in towns the night before December 6, known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. December 6 also happens to be Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, when German children look outside their door to see if the shoe or boot they'd left out the night before contains either presents (a reward for good behavior) or a rod (bad behavior).
A more modern take on the tradition in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic involves drunken men dressed as devils, who take over the streets for a Krampuslauf—a Krampus Run of sorts, when people are chased through the streets by the "devils."
In the beginning of 2014, there were even reports that Kevin Smith wanted to make a Krampus horror movie.. In the springtime, it was revealed that Smith's KRAMPUS cast included some big names.. And it's not just Kevin Smith. Only days ago it was reported that Michael Doughtery was directing a KRAMPUS horror comedy and a release of that film was set for Christmas 2015..
BOING BOING is running an article on the newfound popularity of the old soul named Krampus. He may not be the grinch who stole Christmas after all, btu the devil who provided it new meaning..
But the news lately has not just been all fun and demonic games.. Dateline Austria: A man dressed as Krampus beat a woman with a stick during one party.. The news source from that nation reports that Krampus attire is common this time of year.. Another opinion writer online says it's time to introduce Krampus to children, that the mind control on kids is needed. The article may be tongue in cheek comedy written by a humorist.. but that words would most likely resonate with some out there who want to children a bit of the bad--for those times when coal is just not an effective threat anymore..
In every sense, Krampus is a necessary part of the Christmas season..
God has the devil, and the eternal battle of spiritual warfare is said to take place in our heavens above..
Batman has the Joker.
Obama has Boehner.
Santa.. well, Santa has Krampus.
And being the first week of December, it's just about time for the Krampus festivals around the world to light up in a wicked fashion and bring the paranormal back to Christmas...