Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Christmas Monster

With all the festive cheer, well-wishing and gift-giving, you might assume the grotesque takes a break during the Christmas holidays.

You would be wrong.

Behold your worst nightmare: Krampus.

[Krampus at Perchtenlauf Klagenfurt (2006). Photograph by Anita Martinz. Via]

[Krampus, Salzburg (2008). Photograph by MatthiasKabel. Via]

[Krampus, Salzburg (2008). Photograph by MatthiasKabel. Via]

Krampus is the yin to Santa's yang, the punishment to his reward. This creature represents what happens to those who tend towards the 'bad' half of the naughty/nice dichotomy.

The Wikipedia explains that:

"Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in Alpine countries. According to legend, Krampus accompanies Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. When the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened child away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner."

And you thought getting a lump of coal in your stocking was bad.

Krampus is true nightmare fodder.

[Gruß vom Krampus. Artist unknown (~1900) . Via]

[Saint Nikolaus and Krampus arrive to pass judgement. Newspaper-illustration (1896). Via]

[Krampus costume. Trautenfels castle, Austria (1950). Photograph by Wolfgang Sauber. Via]

Graphic designer Monte Beauchamp talks a bit more about the Krampus in this short interview.

The parades seem to be the best part of the contemporary Krampus phenomenon. I've got nothing against Santa, but these demons are a tad more exciting...


I hope you've been good this year. For your sake...

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