And a Very Merry Krampus to You
For the past two years, whenever my friends, family, or the authors/editors I work with at World Weaver Press see a Krampus related article online or hear a Krampus bit of news, they immediately send it to me. My social media accounts floweth over with Eileen, have you seen this? Krampus links. But in early 2014, when editor Kate Wolford (Enchanted Conversation, Beyond the Glass Slipper,Frozen Fairy Tales) pitched to me the idea of World Weaver Press publishing an anthology of Krampus stories, I admit, I had no idea what she was talking about.
But a bit of Googling and a few conversations later, I was in love. Okay, I wasn’t quite in love—yet—but I was fascinated.
Krampus (also called Perchten or Tuifl) is a monster out of the Germanic Alpine tradition, and he’s been around for at least a thousand years—some sources say well over two thousand years—and specifically as a companion of St. Nick since the 16th century (or so the internet tells me). “His name comes from the German word krampen, which means claw. Some say he is the son of Hel from Norse mythology. Others say his physical features or even the chain and rusty old bells he wears come from other demonic-like creatures of Greek mythology” (source). Called by some “the Christmas Devil,” he’s not actually demonic in the religious sense of the word, at least no more than any other monster, troll, yeti, or other pagan-roots creature from folklore. Although Krampus certainly has the horns and chains and sometimes hooves associated with depictions of the devil. He’s also coated in shaggy fur and his most defining feature after the horns is a very, very long tongue. Take a quick look at any Krampus and you have to wonder what sort of influence this critter had in the design of Orcs in Lord of the Rings. In fact, the differences between Orc cosplay and Krampus cosplay are subtle.
Yes, I just said Krampus cosplay.
There’s a tradition in Europe—particularly in Austria but it’s done elsewhere and is catching on in North America—of holding Krampuslauf or “Krampus runs” on December 5, also known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. Here’s my favorite YouTube video of a Krampuslauf, this one is from Graz, Austria, in 2010 . . .
. . . and if you want to watch the video and see the rest of the article, you'll have to head over to Rhonda Parrish's blog, host of the Giftmas Tour. You can also find and enter the rafflecopter giveaway there. There's three prizes all huge stacks of books.