Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Santa’s Incubus Demon from Hell: The Krampus and the Possible Origin of the Term, Going to Hell in a Hand-basket

As we all know when we were growing up we were told that if we were good Santa will bring us toys as children.

We were told that if we were bad the worst thing that could happen is that we would be taken off the “nice” list and put on the “naughty” list resulting in not receiving any toys, but a lump of coal instead.

Turns out that in several of the Eastern European countries that something much worse would happen instead. If you were bad throughout the year, you would not be receiving a visit or much less gifts from Santa. You’d be receiving a visit from the incubus demon from hell, the Krampus.

The Krampus is essentially the Devil incarnate in form. Bipedal, horned, covered in fur and with cloven hooves the Christmas demon wanders about looking for children who have been deemed bad throughout the year. With him he carries two accouterments, a bundle of sticks or switches that he uses to beat children with and a wicker basket on his back to carry those children with him on the sleigh ride to hell.

A couple of months ago I discovered a book that had a collection of Krampus postcards from Christmas seasons over the years in Europe coming from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary.

It turns out that the wrath of the Krampus was not limited to children but to young men and women as well. Young couples that were out and that were unchaperoned were particularly vulnerable to the fangs, teeth and beatings from the yuletide beast.

I once heard an evangelical minister say. “Heaven without hell is like the news, one with out the other and it’s just news. Just add hell and good news becomes really good news.” In comparison Santa is really a saint.

Even today during Christmas festivals in Europe the Krampus makes his appearance in holiday parades alongside the Father of Christmas to serve as a reminder that it more that just pays to be good, lest you end up going to hell, in a hand-basket.

1 comment:

Celanedgo said...