Krampus take the Horrid Children for the Holidays

More about this guy in a second.  Happy Yule to you!  Focus around the Midwinter Solstice has only recently fallen on the infant Messiah of the Christians.  Eons before the wriggling manger monkey cooed his way into the hearts and minds of the estimated 2.1 Billion Christians on this planet, the darkest day in the Northern Hemisphere was celebrated in many ways by many peoples.

Yule, originally giuli signified a 60-day tide beginning at the lunar midwinter of the late Scandinavian Norse and Germanic tribes.  Juletid came to refer to the midwinter celebrations.

My personal favorite tradition comes from some Early Germans (500–1000 CE)  who considered the Norse goddess, Hertha or Bertha to be the goddess of light, domesticity and the home. They baked yeast cakes shaped like shoes, which were called Hertha's slippers, and filled them with gifts. . .
"During the Winter Solstice houses were decked with fir and evergreens to welcome her coming. When the family and serfs were gathered to dine, a great altar of flat stones was erected and here a fire of fir boughs was laid. Hertha descended through the smoke, guiding those who were wise in saga lore to foretell the fortunes of those persons at the feast"
But here's the really great part. Krampus.  In these legends, before the benign cocoa and smiling coming of the happy gods, the KRAMPUS came to take the horrid children away.  You have not celebrated the holiday season if you have not gone to Salzburg during the midwinter and been subject to these creatures -- hired by the city -- who come stomping into squares, bars, restaurants, ANYWHERE public, and actually flog men, women and children with their whips.  It is terrifying and hilarious.  My friend Scott Jordan was flogged in front of me while I hid another friend Melanie under my table.  She was crying.  It was unforgettable.  He had welts on the back of his legs for a week.  Brilliant.

Oh, and they were right, he HAD been bad.

Happy Holiday!!

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