Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Happy Krampus Night!

Brom has written/illustrated a Krampus novel

You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry, you'd better not pout ...
No it's not Santa Claus you have to worry about - it's his hairy scary sidekick Krampus!

In some European traditions, Saint Nicholas turns up on December 6th (not the 25th) to give out presents to good children ... but there is punishment in store for bad ones. Accompanying St Nick in traditional Alpine lore is Krampus, a devil dressed in chains (to symbolise his subordination to the holy powers) who wields a whip of birch twigs and wears a basket on his back. His job is to find naughty children by the 5th, beat them with his scourge, and if they have been particularly bad, stuff them in his basket and CARRY THEM OFF TO HELL.

They didn't mess around in those days.

 From the 1800s on, as real fear of infernal powers and hellfire died out,  people began to send each other jolly Krampus cards inscribed with "Greetings from Krampus."  These cards were often blackly humorous, in the grand tradition of scaring the shit out of small children. Many are jaw-droppingly dodgy from a modern perspective.

Sometimes there was a sexual subtext that was certainly intentional.

Sometimes there was nothing subtextual about the sexual content at all.

If that's not a BDSM greeting card, I don't know what is!

Krampus gets a sex-change :-)

Krampus represents the dark side of Christmas/parenting/divine grace - the gift-giver who also punishes those who don't conform. He's almost certainly got pagan roots going back to the satyrs and "wild men" of nature, and represents the terrifying danger of the dark time of the year.

There are modern Krampusnacht festivals in Europe and the USA, and Krampus costumes can be truly astonishing. Attendence is not entirely safe however - tradition/roleplaying gives Krampus-players an imagined license to get very drunk and pick on passers-by (particularly attactive women) to thrash.

There's a BDSM XXXmas story in there somewhere...

If you want to see more of Krampus there's a very fine website here with a huge gallery of period greetings cards.

So Happy Krampusnacht to everyone! And BE GOOD!


Jo said...

Holy shit! Frightened*

Janine Ashbless said...

See! It works!

DaveF said...

I just bought the Brom book last week - have you read it? Looks fantastic - thanks for the folklore behind it