I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz lately about Krampus, the demonic, mythical counterpart to St. Nicholas that used to come out and terrorize naughty children into being good again in time for Christmas. The myth has evolved into a modern day tradition whence men get to drink a lot, put on scary masks and go scare the hell out of a bunch of teenagers…or go on a parade, something like that. Apparently there’s some places in Europe where it’s socially acceptable. I read of a recent event in Austria that drew 35,000 spectators.
Before you say how absurd Europeans are I’d like to point out that a) this looks wayyyy too much like one of our Halloween frat parties for us to be critical and b) doesn’t that little guy to the left of the priest look like a Furby? Like if Furby did more crack than he’d already done? Just a little bit?
Annnnyyyywaaayyyyyy here’s the thing, maybe I’m missing something but I think this sounds like a great idea. Seriously. I haven’t really thought it through and my brain is a little fried from studying for finals but here’s my thoughts:
1) How is this any different from halloween? Except for the fact that this time adults don’t get candy and we just get a little more exercise. That and the point is to encourage the next generation with some semblance of discipline rather than fuel a diabetic outburst. Oh and we don’t permit our children to wear horrifically promiscuous outfits in public:
Otherwise this is basically halloween part dos…so why not accept it?
2) Secondly, Krampus reminds us that there’s actually a devil, a reminder which wouldn’t actually be a bad thing. Beneath the ritual of some of these festivities (and perhaps the excuse to drink more) the medieval church was on to something. And no, for the love of God, it wasn’t JUST SCARE TACTICS TO KEEP THE MASSES AT BAY. Woops, sorry. Revisionist history can get to me. Rather, the ritual of things like dressing up as demons and scaring the children reminded our past brethren that the spiritual world did exist and if they didn’t watch out there would be negative consequences (soiled pants being the most immediate). Compare this to our halloween where we dress up like witches and get candy as a reward and you’ll see where I’m going with this. Krampus reminds us that demons actually do exist, even if they’re a wee bit drunk.
3) Building off of that point, Krampus is ugly. Ugly as all hell. Intentionally so. And I love the pictures of Krampus standing next to St. Nick because there you have a wonderful juxtaposition: good and evil- both of whom are happen to be hiccuping through their second Sam Adams (totally inconsequential).
Look, during a holiday season where commercialization is blurring the lines between selfishness, materialism and “the meaning of Christmas” we need to be reminded that there actually is some sort of objectivity out there- that good and evil do actually exist and there are lines between grace, salvation and our own perishing condition. If nothing else, Krampus scares the tar out of us and in one fell swoop reminds us that hell is real and we might need to get our act together and our ass in a pew. It reminds us that maybe Christmas does have a reason and that reason is that Christ came to earth because He knew us blokes were bound to screw things up (again) and were gonna need some help.
Anyways, those are just my thoughts and this was just my excuse to stop studying for a little bit.
What do you think? Krampus? Good? Bad? This post a waste of your time?
Let’s hear your thoughts!