The Folklore of Krampus

Wonderful month of December is full of holidays filled with love, joy and peace on Earth. Where I come from, one of the special dates in December was the 5th; that is when the the holiday of Saint Nicholas is celebrated. 

When I was a child, I would traditionally wait for St. Nicholas Day since it meant getting candy and gifts. In order to get presents, children would have to clean their boots until they are sparkly clean. On the evening of December 5th, we would place our clean boots on the window, and patiently go to sleep. During the night, St. Nicholas would arrive and put delicious candy and small treats in our boots; that is, if our boots are clean enough, and we have been good all year.  

Similar to Christmas, the holiday of St. Nicholas rises the question if the child had been naughty or nice. As mentioned, if you have been nice and if your boot is perfectly clean, St. Nicholas would give you treats. However, if you have been naughty and your boot is dirty, another being might give you a different type of gift. 

The being we are talking about is Krampus. As kids, we were terrified of him. According to the legend, St. Nicholas travels with a companion; Krampus who is supposed to contrast St. Nicholas. Krampus is depicted as a chained demon beast with horns, and hair all over his body. Pretty uneasy for kids. Furthermore, he carries a bag full of birch sticks which serve as a "gift" for naughty children. Therefore, if you have been naughty, Krampus might swat you with birch sticks. Do not worry though, St. Nicholas has him chained most of the time; just make sure you are really nice.

As children, most of us would receive gifts and candy in our boots, but our parents would make sure traditionally to put one birch stick in our boots as well. I guess, it is both due to the tradition and simple way to remind their kids to be a bit nicer. No wonder, I'm writing a spooky blog...

Thanks for a read!
Don't forget to clean your boots tomorrow!


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