Did you know that in European folklore, Santa Claus has a helper? No, this is not the elves that we know today. According to this ancient folklore, Santa Claus was helped by Krampus. Just who is Krampus and what is his role?
Krampus is described as a half-goat, half-demon monster that is considered the devilish companion to Santa Claus. Throughout folklore, Krampus is said to be hairy with either black or brown hair, and has cloven hooves and the horns of a goat. His tongue is long and pointed, and he has fangs. Many believe that the idea of Krampus originates from Germany. So, what does Krampus do?
As the legend goes, on December 25th, Santa Claus and Krampus would ride together to every little boys and girls home. Upon arrival, if the children have been good for the year, Santa would leave the presents. However, if they had been bad throughout the year Krampus would hit the children with branches and sticks as punishment for their behavior. In some cases, it is said that Krampus would eat the children if they had been extremely bad or take them to hell. On St. Nicholas Day, children would awaken to find their gifts if they had been good or to nurse their injuries if they had been bad.
For many people, the idea of Krampus is simply horrible. However, during the times in which kids believed in Krampus, many parents would use the monster as a way to get children to behave. Many kids would be told to straighten up or Krampus would get them! But, is still something that people believe in today?
Santa Claus is one of those figures that seems to spread across all cultures and time. Thanks to the commercialization of Christmas, Santa Claus has easily become the most recognized figure out there and is associated with Christmas everything. However, where does Krampus fit in these days? Believe or not, there are still many people who talk about Krampus, and there are even festivals held to highlight this figure. Granted, not many people are telling their children that Krampus will beat them from being bad, they are rather highlighting this folklore for kids to understand the rich history behind it. Parades are held in many European nations to honor Krampus, where people dress up and run the streets, trying to get a scream or two from those who are watching the parade.
In addition, Krampus has even spread to popular culture with the many movies and shows that were written around the horror of Krampus. So, chances are that most people have heard of Krampus now. However, understanding just what this figure meant to those years back, gives you a bit more of an understanding of the goal of Krampus. Today, when kids are being bad, we often threaten that Santa Claus will not bring any presents…and Krampus is really the reason for this threat if you think about the age old legend!