Okay, what is it exactly with the Germans? First, they idolize David Hasselhoff. Then they celebrate Christmas with the legend of Krampus.
Not heard of Krampus? (And, no, he's not the advertising cartoon spokesman for Midol). Krampus is a truly nightmarish legend, a demon who punishes bad children at Christmas-time. Merry Christmas everybody! Have a gander:
Gives you that cheery Christmas spirit, right? Krampus is furry, has horns (some say phallic in origin; best not to go there), cloven hooves like a goat. And sometimes he carries a bathtub or sack on his back to stuff bad children into it and drown them. Happy holidays! He also carries chains and bundles of birch branches to beat the children with. I know right? Gives you that fuzzy holiday warm feeling.
Curious, I researched ol' Krampus's origins. Well, apparently Krampus's back-story has historians stumped. They could only trace it back so far. But anthropologists agree, Krampus predates Christian theology, reaching back to ancient Pagan beliefs. Some believe Krampus is the Horned God of the Witches; other anthropologists postulate that over time Krampus has transformed into a representation of the Christian devil. But he was there first.
Oddly enough, Krampus works in tandem with Saint Christoper, the patron of children. They're pals. Unlike Krampus, though, St. Chris bestows gifts upon the nice children. But, I have to wonder, what if they accidentally got their lists messed up? For example, what if Little Cyndy Loo-Who pays for what ornery Kevin did to his classmates? A simple bureaucratic, Christmas-time slip-up can result in unwarranted death! Terrifying! Ho, ho, HORROR!
In the '50's, German government pushed to do away with Krampus. Pamphlets were distributed, proclaiming "Krampus is an Evil Man!" (That'll show 'em!) But you can't keep a good demon down. Krampus has resurged in popularity again in recent years (you know, like Donald Trump). The night before The Feast of Saint Nicholas in certain parts of Europe is dedicated to Krampus. Called Krampusnacht, people (or ARE they?) dressed in Krampus costumes run through the streets, causing havoc and bugging people, giving coal to children and who knows what else. A Krampuslauf is a run of Krampus costumed people. Tradition has it you offer them schapps for their efforts. Some gig.
And, of course there's a new horror film out now celebrating Krampus (um, I kinda want to see it).
But honestly, what kind of parent would push this tale onto their children? Only the most sadistic kind, of course!
"Wilhelm, you've been very naughty this year. Krampus is going to come and drown you tonight."
The father sits back in his lounge chair, grinning around his pipe, another year of fine parenting.
Happy holidays everyone! Don't let Krampus get you!