The scourge of long ago Germanic Yuletides, Krampus was a character a child did not want to encounter. From the folklore and legend that gave him birth, Krampus was quite the ugly fellow. He was rather tall, hairy, had cloven hoofs, two large horns on his head, and looked more like a goat on two legs then anything human. And, let's not forget his very long, almost snake-like tongue. This guy would never be the cover page of GQ. That was the point; he was supposed to scare the hell out of children. Krampus also had a very special appetite - he loved to devour kids. But not just any kids.
At the height of his "popularity," (sarcasm intended), Krampus showed up a few days before St. Nick/Santa Claus and carted off the naughty kids to his forest lair and ate them one at a time. As myth and legend have it, he was never hungry, because he served as the effect to a cause.
Through out the year, parents would constantly scold their kids into better behavior and to not be lazy. Naturally, a switch was employed a time or two, but the ultimate consequence for poor behavior was to be a midnight snack for Krampus. And, it worked on most of the kids; being eaten alive by this hairy monstrosity was not desirable by young and fertile minds. These kids grasped the concept of becoming their words and deeds: Do the right things, be industrious and rewards, in the guise of St. Nick, would come your way. Being a layabout and constantly causing grief for your parents earned you a spot in Krampus's gumbo pot. Unfortunately, none of this can be applied today.
In the upside down world we live in, kids and adults are constantly rewarded, regardless of personal, positive words and deeds. Today, every kid gets a trophy, just for showing up (because we don't want to hurt their feelings). Kids are pushed through and graduate high school with incredibly poor math and English skills (because we don't want to damage their self-esteem). The latter has forced colleges and universities to carry remedial math and English courses in an effort to bring their new "students" up to speed. Then we have all of the B/S in the work place. Nowadays, this list of reward for poor behavior seems endless.
Today in Germanic speaking countries a few folks don a Krampus costume and parade about the towns, a reminder of Yuletides from a by-gone era. But the modern Krampus does not have the "bite" of the past. Maybe we need to give him a new set of teeth.
Copyright @2015 Terry Unger