I’ve written about Krampus before, Austria’s Christmas Devil who terrifies children into behaving. Another thing I’ve learnt more recently is that on this day (December 5th), it used to be common to post a secret card to someone you admired… kind of like an unofficial Valentine. In fact, the cards were free to send, with the recipient paying postage when it arrived.
This tradition was known as a Gruß vom Krampus (Greetings from Krampus) and was often humerous. Now… from what I can tell the Krampus was a bit of a dirty old man. And the older cards seem a lot darker with more sexual overtones (just my opinion). Now, I know that Google is not the best translator, and when it comes to sayings, even worse, but when I plugged in some Krampus greetings I found online, I came up with hilarious translations. Note of course that the correct translations could be quite different.
I’ve had this photo for a while, and I finally dared ask hubby… “What on earth is this?” I find it to be a wholly disturbing baked good. He looked at me as if I was the crazy one and simply told me: “It’s Krampus.”
Aha. Now I see it. The horns, the bunch of birch rods it carries to beat the children with… it’s definitely Krampus. It’s actually pretty impressive. But then the question… why?
Austrians have some strange folklore, but perhaps the one which is the most disturbing, especially for kids, is the Krampus. Saint Nicholas is the good guy that rewards the well-behaved kids with gifts on December 6th. But instead of simply telling kids in Austria that he simply won’t come if they are naughty, what they get told is the following:
“If you are naughty the Krampus will find you, pack you in his sack, and take you back with him to hell.”Continue reading →
From my one Christmas spent in Austria, my impression is that they take it a lot more seriously than we do in Oz. To be fair, I suppose if you have kids it’s a different story, but even without young kids they seem to take it seriously here.