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St. Nick and The Krampus

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Nothing says Happy St. Nick’s day like a demon sidekick – St. Nicholas, who acted as the original Santa, now has his own day on December 6th; a little precursor for children anxiously anticipating Christmas. However, the Germanic origins of St. Nick from centuries ago included the Krampus. This demon like creature was said to accompany St. Nick as he delivered presents and beat the bad children with sticks. By the 1800s the church had adopted these holiday traditions and the Krampus was discarded, or at best, reduced to slightly less violent lumps of coal still delivered by a jolly old man.

The Krampus lived on in parts of rural Europe through post cards, illustrations and festivals. He is now more popular than ever with Krampus Clubs popping up all over Europe in which members dress up like Krampuses on the eve of St. Nicks day and run around town scaring women and children. While the Krampus is fairly unknown in America, this may have inspired the Victorian tradition of Christmas Trick night in which children would dress up around Christmas Eve and run around town getting treats before Halloween was geared toward children.

So this Sunday when kids leave their shoes out for St. Nick, lets hope they have been good or they may be on the Krampus’ list instead.

Happy Saint Nick’s (and Krampus) Day from the Vintage Vault!

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