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Gemma Juliana: The Christmas Monster…
Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The Christmas Monster…

Have you ever heard of the Christmas monster?

tdChristmas SpiritsIn my world, Christmas has always been about all things positive…Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Rudolph with his red nose, snow, caroling, hot chocolate. On a religious level—it’s about the Star of Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. Sure, I know about Scrooge and The Grinch, but something much darker lurks in the shadows.

I spent almost a decade living in German-speaking countries in Europe. I was even married to a German for eighteen years and had a mother-in-law who spoke no English. I’m ashamed to say that until a few days ago, I had never heard of the Krampus, nor seen one. Now I’m obsessed with him and what he represents.

Wikipedia describes him as, “a beast like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries…” There is a morbidly fascinating 8-minute video of a Krampus festival held annually at Graz, Austria where people dress up as the Krampus every year. If you have 8 minutes to spare, I encourage you to scroll down that page and watch it. Talk about high quality costumes and make-up—this parade of Christmastime devils makes our yuckiest zombies and ghouls of Halloween look like wimps!

Lumps of coal? Forget it, you naughty children! Things can get a lot worse than that! Krampus was the devil-like monster who terrified bad children and took them away to his cave. Their best possible fate was to be locked up and starved. Worst case scenario: they became a meal for the Krampus.

Krampus

From a greeting card featured in Wikipedia

How was it that in all these years I had never heard of the Krampus? It occurs to me that this is yet another display of the theme darkness and light. Since St. Nicholas/Santa Claus is a benevolent being of light, are we surprised there is an equal and opposite being of darkness? Since Christmas falls so close to the Solstice which is the longest night of the year and the shortest day, it stands to reason there is a “dark” character involved in countries where adults would go to any length to make children be obedient and well-behaved. Krampus may be tied in with ancient pagan rituals.

There has been a general tendency toward darkness and monsters in recent years, especially around Halloween. Apparently new Krampus parades are popping up around the USA now. Just google ‘krampus parade’ to find one near you!

As a writer who enjoys sprinkling paranormal spice on my stories, my mind is already at work… how I can incorporate Krampus into an upcoming novella?

There’s no such character to be found in my two holiday novellas—Autumn Masquerade and Christmas Spirits. In both stories, the only paranormal characters readers must contend with are ghosts.

How about you—if you knew about the Krampus, please share what you know!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

Autumn Masquerade - TallGEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.
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8 comments to “Gemma Juliana: The Christmas Monster…”

  1. Delilah
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    1
      · December 24th, 2013 at 12:27 pm · Link

    I lived in Germany for 7 years and never heard the story. It must be more of a southern Germany/Austrian tradition. But now, I’m interested too! Thanks for the fun post!



  2. Gemma Juliana
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    2
      · December 24th, 2013 at 4:46 pm · Link

    Hi Delilah~
    Same here. I wondered how I missed out on hearing about this character. Getting coal in their stockings was the least of their worries! This is serious business, indeed!



  3. Melissa Keir
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    3
      · December 24th, 2013 at 4:55 pm · Link

    Okay, very scary! I’m sure that we have all forgotten about this because it’s too scary! I’m glad I don’t have to worry about being naughty this year!



  4. Andrea
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    4
      · December 24th, 2013 at 4:59 pm · Link

    Wow! Great post. I’m familiar with history and pagan traditions, but this Krampus is new to me. Thanks. Tweeted.



  5. Gemma Juliana
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      · December 24th, 2013 at 5:06 pm · Link

    Hi Melissa~~ I feel sorry for the Germanic children of old. What a burden! Talk about the mentality that good children should be seen but not heard…



  6. Gemma Juliana
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      · December 24th, 2013 at 5:07 pm · Link

    Hi Andrea~
    Like Delilah, I lived in Germanic countries for eight years back in the 1980s, married to a German with a German mother-in-law who spoke no English, but I never heard of Krampus. It seems they buried him deep but he’s sprung loose again in recent times.



  7. Marianne Stephens
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      · December 24th, 2013 at 5:31 pm · Link

    Wow…never heard of Krampus…what a strange way to celebrate a festive holiday. Really should be done around Halloween when we expect scary stuff!
    Some of those costumes are over-the-top. Makes me wonder what these people do happy times!



  8. Gemma Juliana
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      · December 25th, 2013 at 12:08 am · Link

    Marianne, I was wondering the same thing. Where did the message ‘Peace on Earth’ go with Krampus running around stealing away children? If this is their idea of happy holidays, I don’t want to see their darker holidays!