I’m all for a little scare to the little ones, but when I learned of Krampusnacht, even I needed to temper it a bit. Turns out there’s a Germanic myth surrounding St. Nicholas. (I have German heritage, so I feel obligated to give it a go). Turns out that St. Nicolas would visit houses on the eve of his sainthood, December 6th (read, his death). So we’re off to a morbid start.
In anticipation of this visit, the household would leave out their shoes. If the children in question were good, then St. Nicholas (and I suppose the angel) would slip some candies in the shoes.
This is all good. Kids get to mack out on treats. Everyone’s happy. Oh, did we forget the devil being led by chains behind the angel. Well, he has a purpose. If the kids were naughty, then he would chase them around (and possibly torture them) until they promised to be good.
Apparently, if you refused to repent, then he’d stuff you in a basket and take you to hell (no confirmation if this is the origin of “hell in a handbasket”).
St. Nicolas seems fine with all this. In fact, the Krampus serves as his personal chauffeur.
This is an amazing print by Phineas X. Jones for the Krampus.
I’ll leave you with a “cute” postcard of the Krampus sailing off into the sky with some (I’m hoping naughty) babies.