Krampus: Full History Of The 2000s' Favorite Christmas Villain

 Now you're done. You dropped the moral ball, and according to tradition, Krampus will come for you on December 5. (Don't even pretend you don't know what you did.) While Santa gives presents to everyone on his "good" list, his demonic friend, Krampus, ruthlessly punishes children who commit the tiniest of sins. dare to sin. Who is this Germanic Yuletide Bad Boy with an endless supply of tree branches? Why have Americans started celebrating the switch-bearing yang in Santa's yin?

Krampus is about to get

According to legend, Krampus and St. Nicholas travel together across Europe the night before St. Nicholas Day, to relieve pain and pleasure together. While St. Nicholas places candy in the shoes of the good little ones, Krampus hits the bad kids with birch branches. If the kids are really terrible, he stuffs them in his sack and takes them screaming and crying back to his den, where he either tortures them, eats them, or drives them to hell Well, it depends on who is telling the story. Either way, it seems a bit extreme for some temper tantrums.

The Yuletide Demon Predicts Christmas

Even though he has been absorbed into the Christmas tradition over the past few centuries, Krampus actually originated in the days of Pre-Germanic paganism in northern Europe. His name comes from the German krampen, meaning "claw", and before he was the assistant steward of Saint Nicholas, he was the son of Hel, the Norse god of the underworld. His sinister form, a monstrous goat man with a human leg and a goat's foot, is tied into a 1,000-year-old pagan ritual that involves dressing up in scary costumes and running through the streets to ward off winter spirits.

  Their form changed as Christianity became more prevalent

Under the influence of Christianity, during the Middle Ages the legend of Krampus evolved from a wintry trickster with a penchant for violence to a youth-attacking devil. Before Christianity came along and really kicked Krampus's look into high gear, he was what we considered a satirist: half-goat, half-man, all testosterone. As Christianity expanded in Europe, however, Krampus was depicted with more satanic tones, including an obscenely long tongue and chains to bind him. His darkest Christian addition to date was the sack or basket that Krampus uses to kidnap children.

Krampus was quashed by the church

Those medieval Christians might have done a little too well. In the 12th century, the Catholic Church celebrated the Krampus festival because he looked too much like the devil for their comfort.

Attempts to crush Krampusnacht have never been so successful. The next attempt to rid the world of this baby-catching Yule animal came in 1923, when the Austrian authorities banned all activity related to Krampus not because of being evil, but also because the fascist government created them by the Social Democrats. considered a tool. Celebrate socialism under his rule. Pamphlets that read "Krampus is an evil man" flooded Austria to warn parents about the dangers of the monster this Christmas, but the Krampus ban didn't last long.

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