The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dang where do I begin. This book is totally awesome. It tells you everything about the Krampus and then then some. Being the first time that someone puts out an information book about Krampus and on that does not get caught up in any Neo _Pagan craziness or New Agey stuff just makes m want to jump up and down for joy. I am going to apologize in advance because there is so much information and so many details that any summary I give will not do this justice. There are many German names that I will not get straight and I have to hand it to Al he did a bang em up job going to all the towns in the Alpine area which is Krampus’ home and doing the research and reporting on the various Krampus events.
Krampus is not that old. Having ben put on posts cards in the 1850”s his existence is perhaps one to two hundred years. Yet his roots stretch back been further. The Krampuslauf or Krampus run seems to have started perhaps around the turn of the century. In different towns like Gastein there are Krampuspasses or Krampus clubs. They require permits now days. But in the past performers wore wood carved masks that resemble in some cases African masks. Making the masques is an art and there is frowning down upon innovations that alter the Krampus outfit. Now according to lore the Krampus helps Saint Nicholas by punishing bad kids while he gives out the gifts. The book traces th evolution of Church plays and Saint Nicholasmarches into how they evolved into the Krampus run. The book also covers a variety of Krampus like creatures.
The Krampus and by the ay that is not a character name but rather the name of his species sem to have origins that go back to the German Goddess Perchta. She I a goddess who would lead a procession during select days of the Christmas season. In her train are various creatues called Perchten, and they come in light and dark varieties. Perchta or Frau Holle had a dual role. Mostly associated with the spindle and house cleaning chores she would reward those who left food out for her and kept the house clean. Those who kept a messy house she would punish by eating, burning and what not. The wild Hunt with Odin leading a menagerie of people who dies early or whatever provides another source for he Krampus run.
The Perchten also had their runs but the traditions which in many ways are similar. Oten borrow from each other.Borth developed separately on to tracks but ten t seems like they are looking for each other. What has been rendered in this review is a partial summary. Read the book for more details’ strongly advise it.
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