Wednesday, 3 December 2014

finding krampus oder knecht ruprecht

In a delightful little holiday safari called Searching for Krampus, one of Boing Boing’s happy mutants covers the slow and careful cultivation of an old Germanic tradition transported to Hollywood.
The old masters from Austria (though similar devils haunt a broad swath of Europe) that ultimately helped realise a Krampus festival were skeptical at first, worried that without proper guidance that the custom would become mere cos-play and horror-camp but there seems to be a genuine fascination for this demonic foil—that’s maybe reflective of broader laments over the over-commercialisation of the season. This is always a sore topic and all chime-in when it comes to Christmas-Creep, but I can imagine that the Celts, the ancient Germanic tribes, and the ancient Roman were feeling pretty much the same way when they saw their mistletoe, Yuletide and Saturnalia taken over by Christian rites. Knecht Ruprecht is a related but non-demonic companion of Saint Nicholas, meaning Farmhand Rupert, who threatens disobedient children and hashes out appropriately wretched presents—and although maybe not enjoying the same seasonal celebrity as the monstrous Krampus, Knecht Ruprecht is pretty famous in the Deutsche Sprachraum as the name of the Simpson family pet greyhound, Santa’s Little Helper, in the German version of the series.