Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Holiday Season is upon us!

The holiday season is here with all its noise, lights, presents and hustling about to get everything done in time. The Tea Room is as busy as ever with everyone trying to keep up with all the festivities.  

While I have come to accept that most morts prefer to celebrate their winter holiday on Dec 25th, I must admit, I find the Dec 6th celebration of St. Nicholas much more appealing.  Well, let me correct myself, I find&nbsp Krampusnacht or Night of the Krampus which is actually Dec 5th, St. Nicholas's Eve, the most enjoyable.

Being such a Krampus supporter for so long, I naturally assumed everyone knew about him.   But lately, I have realized that most morts have never even heard of Krampus and those who have, seem to know only bits and pieces of his story.

I thought I would take a few moments and a couple of blog entries over the days leading up to St. Nicholas' Eve to share all I know of my beloved Krampus.

Krampus by Miss Monster

Krampus, sometimes called the Christmas Devil or Demon, is an interesting figure with a very unique  and somewhat sketchy background.

His story begins in ancient times.  To grasp his full greatness, there are several other ideologies that you first need to understand; the Sun god, the Horned god and how they are connected to the winter solstice.

It is widely accepted that most pre-Christian cultures based their mythos and beliefs on nature and the solar cycle.  Many saw the Sun as a god.  The Sun was a provider of light and warmth.  As the Sun became stronger in the spring and summer, it was associated to the growth of vegetation and the reproduction of animals.  In contrast, as the Sun became weaker in the fall and winter, the harvest would end and the fields would be bare until the spring time.  During this dark time, many cultures performed rituals to insure the Sun’s return and the survival of the tribe.    

Many of these rituals were held during the shortest days of the year, the winter solstice.  They were devised to prevent the sun from getting any weaker.  The actual shortest day falls on or around the 21st of December and then around the 25th of December is when the sun visibly begins to rise again after several days at its lowest ebb.  The rebirth of the Sun was a time to celebrate.

Sun God from Hogmanay Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland

Many stories were created for these winter rituals to bring back the Sun.  Specifically, in German and Austrian folklore, multiple legends describe a sinister figure with horns, covered with shaggy hair and sometimes dressed in tattered robes with a basket or sack on his back.  This creature’s job was to drive out the evil spirits of winter.  He was clearing the way for the return of the Sun and harvest for the next year. 

Cernunnos by Shaneesj

In Austria, the custom was for people to don wooden masks and costumes made of sheep skin and ram horns.  Theses fierce creatures would then parade through the towns.  The entire activity was dedicated to warding off evil spirits (that would be winter) and blessing the towns people with prosperity (that would be a good harvest). 

As these legends spread from Austria to neighboring countries, many different cultural traditions were born.

These are the origins of Krampus and the mid-winter festivals that are practiced today.    

Oh my, things are starting to pick up here.  I need to brew a new pot of Earl Grey, Mr Fleam is on his way in and will be in a right cranky state if his tea is not ready.

I will continue with my Krampus story tomorrow.



  1. Interesting facts. While I had been aware of Krampus, I had never taken the time to learn the origins. I will be looking to more go get that tea brewed!

  2. Very cool to see this blog started and have been creeped out by Krompus!