For today’s post I have decided to do a brief overview of the story of Krampus. The story of Krampus is one that has seen a surge in interest in the last few decades. It began as a tale of sort of the anti-Santa, however, he was much more.
It is likely that Krampus was one that began in ancient pagan religions. Santa also likely began with a pagan deity, as well as figures like Saint Nicholas. Krampus is the anti-Santa, but exists within the same beliefs. It is said by some as the one that they are two different sides of the same coin!
Krampus punishes the naughty children, where Santa acts to give gifts to the nice ones. For Krampus there are different levels of naughty. Those that are naughty, but capable of change, will get hit with a rod by Krampus and left to realize the negativity of their behaviors. Others that are not capable of becoming good are instead thrown into Krampus’ sack and taken with him to Hell to be tortured! Krampus is described as being a demonic beastly figure, often with looks based on a goat. This may lead some to confusing him with other demons that are not Christmas related.
On a personal note, there is a store near where I live that decided that they would have Krampus there each year for photos! So instead of Santa this creepy shop has Krampus there for spooky holiday fun. The first time my husband and I entered the shop, some 5 or 6 years ago, happened to be a day Krampus was there! I had wanted to go in because of my love of the macabre, but I got a bonus in seeing a guy dressed as Krampus sitting on a throne!
Krampus served as a disincentive for bad behavior, and Santa works in the opposite way. This balance of disincentivizing naughty ways and incentivizing nice ways was the original way of attempting to ensure that children did what they should do! Krampus night is still celebrated in several European countries on December 5, the night before Saint Nicholas Day!
I enjoy some versions that turn Krampus from a villain to an anti-hero. For example, on American Dad! Seth MacFarlane chose to make Krampus the good one because he taught children to be good. Instead, Santa was evil in this universe because he only instilled in children the ability to become more and more greedy because of all the gifts they receive. This worked as a very clever way of critiquing parents who spoil their children, or who only give them attention when they throw tantrums!
I hope you have enjoyed this look at Krampus. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a classic Krampus image. I found the image on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus.
- American Dad! (The Christmas Episodes)