Darker tales of Christmas past

Whether sitting at home with family enjoying good company and gifts or delving into a haunted site in search of ghosts of Christmas past, December is a time to celebrate and enjoy traditions of the past.


However, though most Western children will be expecting a jolly fat man to climb down their chimney with a sack of presents, it wasn't always this way for certain European countries.


Be afraid of Krampusnacht


Christmas has a long history in countries such as Germany. Centuries ago, children of the old German region in Europe would wait each Winter solstice for an older man in white robes to come to their house on the day of December 6 and reward their good behavior with presents. These children would leave out a boot to receive the gifts, which the robed man would fill.


This man was known as Saint Nicholas, and he was the gift-bearing figure that our modern day Santa Claus was born from, which is why many people still refer to him as St. Nick. The day of his arrival was known as Nikolaustag.


Doesn't seem frightening? St. Nick himself wasn't, but his dark companion was.


You see, on the night prior to December 6 - Krampusnacht - a horrifying, bestial creature from the underworld itself would travel through town in search of the naughty children. This being was known as Krampus, derived from the Old High German word for claw.


He is described as having red skin, cleft hooves, pointed ears, two giant horns and a terrifyingly long tongue. If that wasn't bad enough, he was also monstrously tall, at around seven-foot, and carried a bundle of birch sticks to use as a weapon.





If your children are naughty, what will happen to them come December?







Naughty children who couldn't get away would be physically punished by the creature, and sometimes even dragged into his hellish lair to be punished further.


So each year, when you celebrate the Christmas festivities and joke about mere lumps of coal, be glad Krampus never visited you as a child.

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