Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Krampus

Growing up with the Macy's Department Store idea of Santa Claus, here in the United States many of us have no idea of the variety of folk traditions that were both synthesized and sanitized to create the ubiquitous American icon.

For example, in Austria one of these is the story of Krampus. See, in the old Austrian tradition Saint Nicholas still delivers gifts to good children during the Christmas season, but he is accompanied by the demon-like Krampus who delivers far worse punishments to bad children than a lump of coal in the stocking.

In some towns gangs of young men will dress up as Krampus and roam the streets hitting people with birch branches. Just imagine doing that in an American department store!

Happy holidays, everyone, and don't let Krampus get you!

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