Krampus: The Christmas Demon
In two days, December 5th, it will be Krampus day!
And what is Krampus Day, you might ask?
Well, in the evening of December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas' Feast day, young men in Austria, Southern Germany and Northern Italy celebrate a very old custom. They get dressed up as St. Nicholas' demonic servant, the Krampus, and then go running about the town (called a Krampus run). They warn the children to be good because St. Nicholas is on his way.
You can head to You Tube to see a little of a Krampus Run .
I chose to feature this folkloric creature in my novel, Chasing the Trickster. When anthropology professor Pascal Guzman puts on a Krampus mask he comes away with a little surprise. He finds himself host to an ancient entity who has been living in the mask.
My interest in the Krampus was first tweaked when I saw a book by Monte Beauchamp, The Devil in Design and learned about Krampus folklore. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were many Krampus day postcards sent around Europe. These postcards were collected in a book by Mr. Beauchamp. Some of the demonic images are quite humorous as one of Krampus' sidelines was to chase buxom women. As well as having horns, he's--well--rather horny.
This and a few other ideas came together to create the plot and characters of my urban fantasy, Chasing The Trickster.
1. From my college studies in Japanese Noh theatre (I was a theatre geek long before I thought of being a writer) came the idea that a mask can have a soul or being living inside it.
2. Then there is the idea of where do gods go when no one believes in them anymore. It is thought that Christians took Celtic gods such as Cernunnos, the stag god, and represented them as devils. Then what if the Krampus was originally a fertility god who then was represented as a devil? And what if when he lost his followers he felt he has no choice but to join with St. Nicholas to have whatever crumbs of worship he could garner?
3. I had seen a Jim Carrey movie many years ago called "The Mask" wherein a person wearing the mask would develop great powers but also lose all inhibitions. What if such a spirit could come out and permanently stay in a host.
Thus we have our hero, Pascal Guzman, possessed and plagued by an ancient entity, who is constantly nagging him to go out and Par-tee! The results are tragic, humorous and risqué.
I hope that you will take the time to find out more the Krampus, and also read my novel, Chasing The Trickster.Bio: April Grey's urban fantasy novel, Chasing The Trickster, is published by EternalPress. Her short stories have been published in such print anthologies as Demonmind's Halloween 2010, The Best of Everyday Fiction 2, Northern Haunts, Ephemera and Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry. Many of these stories can be found in her collection, The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe available through Amazon and Smashwords.
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Thanks for being my guest today, April. I never knew about Krampus so it was neat to learn something new. Come back anytime.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Ginger. I really appreciated the chance to let people know about this interesting and unique Christmas friend of St. Nick.ReplyDelete
Great story about Krampus. It seems that there are all sorts of little angels, gods, saints, and demons about. I find it amazing how they all collide.ReplyDelete
Hello, April (and Ginger),ReplyDelete
I've never heard this legend, but I think you've done a great job turning it into the germ of a story. Good luck with release!
Thanks for stopping by. Yep, there's a lot more making bumps in the night than just vamps and weres. Having been camping where there's just the night and the sound of wind in the pines, I understand how easily legends can come about. Before electric lights there was a lot of dark. In fact, I still feel safer in NYC than in the country.
Have a glorious day!
Thanks for the good wishes, Lisabet!ReplyDelete
I was raised by my Austrian grandparents and Krampus was a common theme in December as well as St. Nicklaus leaving fruits and nuts in shoes that had been shined ( I pulled out shoes from the closet to get a bigger haul).ReplyDelete
I also heard about 'Strubelpeter' (not sure of spelling)he was a warning of what would happen to kids who did not use good hygiene habits. Long dirty/greasy/unkempt hair, black/green teeth, long dirty broken fingernails, bad breath, terrible body odor ... on and on.
Thanks for the story, it brought back memories!
warm quilt hugs, sue in CA
I'm so glad I could bring back some memories. I'm one-fourth Dutch and one-eighth German, and perhaps that's where my love of horror and the grotesque comes from.
Here's a link to Shock Haired Peter. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12116/12116-h/12116-h.htm I believe that this translation was done by Mark Twain.
Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a note!