You may have heard about or seen the Krampus movie that came out last week, but you may not have realized that the idea behind a anti-Santa isn’t just a Hollywood gimmick- it’s based on old Norse mythology.
The idea behind Krampus comes from a centuries old German tradition. The name “Krampus” comes from the German word krampen, which means claw. He is depicted as a horned hairy figure with a serpent tail and forked tongue. Krampus’ appearance was meant to be terrifying as his sole purpose was to punish children who had been naughty over the last year. But contrary to popular belief, Krampus is not a demon, but rather the legend paints him as a companion to St. Nicholas.
Krampus, of course, is the antithesis of Santa Claus, who instead of rewarding good children by giving presents at Christmas, would punish bad children by beating them and taking them away to his lair, where they would remain for one year. It was said that the omnipotent St. Nick, who knew before hand which children were bad and which were good, would dispatch his cohort on Krampus night (December 5th) to inflict his tidings of ill-will on those who had misbehaved.
Krampus was an effective way to scare the ever-loving crap out of kids in an effort to get them to behave. Thus, the popularity of Krampus grew over the generations and reached across Europe and the world in one shape or another. Many places still have parades, exchange greeting cards, or have events where some dress up as Krampus and dance in the streets.
As you might imagine the idea of Krampus has been met with esteem but also scorn. At the beginning of the 20th century, the celebration of Krampus was prohibited by the Austrian Fascist government; but by the end of World War II it had been revived.
Since that time the popularity of Krampus has grown all over the world; and in many ways is now its own institution. So if you children need a little more motivation to behave you can simply tell them that if they don’t, they will be visited by a giant goat beast that will beat them mercilessly then drag them away into a deep lair where no light will ever reach them. Problem solved.
Now about that therapy bill…