Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as “half-goat, half-demon”, who, during the Yule, punishes children who have misbehaved. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated a pre-Christian origin. His name originates with the German krampen, which means “claw,” and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. During the 12th century, the Catholic Church attempted to banish Krampus celebrations because of his resemblance to the devil.
It was believed that Krampus carried bundles of birch branches with which he would swat children and who can resist offering them some coal too!
Some people believe that Krampus represents the Horned God, a popular figure in witchcraft, and that his birch rods are a throwback to ancient, pagan initiation rituals. When Christians replaced pagan winter festivals with Christmas, Krampus underwent a transformation. He was associated with the devil, and he was placed in a subservient position to Saint Nicholas—even forced to wear chains to show his inferiority.
Place around your alter to remember to be good next year or offer to misbehaving children’s socks
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