Taylor Campbell

Santa’s demonic entourage, Krampus.

Taylor Campbell, Copy Editor

The holiday season is a time of giving and unity. We reminisce the year and show gratitude towards the ones we love. All of this is accompanied by many religious traditions. All in all the season is accompanied by the basis of love, peace, and joy. Unbeknownst to the majority, there just so happens to be an underlying tone of fright during the holidays. If Santa’s 24/7 gaze wasn’t already unsettling, his demonic entourage will be.

Beware of the Christmas cat! According to Icelandic legends, Jólakötturinn is the Yule Cat who has been used as a reminder for children to do their chores. Children who complete all their work are usually rewarded with new clothes, as old, worn clothes are a sign to Jólakötturinn that the child is lazy and will proceed to devour the child! The poem, Jólakötturinn, by Jóhannes úr Kötlum, also mentions how the community must assist the unfortunate as they can’t receive new clothing to ward off Jólakötturinn.

Another nefarious creature is Perchta who originated among Germanic folklore. Reported to either appear as a beautiful woman in white, or a haggard witch, she is said to cut into and stuff the bellies of people who forgot the traditional meal of her feast day. In Bavaria and Austria during the 12 Days of Christmas, and especially on the final night, she would determine the fate of children. If good and hardworking all year, she would reward them with a silver coin. If naughty, she would slit their stomach, remove the innards, and replace them with straw and pebbles.

By far the most notorious of all holiday villains, Krampus serves as the ultimate encouragement for good behavior. Rooted in ancient German ic lore, his reigns have spread to most of Europe, striking fear on the Eve of St. Nicholas Day. He would threaten children with the sights of chains and bells. Purely as a form of negative reinforcement for children to act accordingly during the season, Krampus is said to abduct the bad eggs and take them to his lair in Hell.

So rather than complain of the gifts you did not receive, be grateful you avoided seasons beatings from these anti-Santas!