Krampus is an unusual word to define simply because Krampus is the name of a mythological creature who, in German/Alpine folklore is partner to Saint Nicholas. So Krampus is not so much a word, but a being, however, it’s a being worth ‘defining’. Krampus is the one who takes care of the naughty, selfish children and he doles out the punishments. Whips from a birch branch, ear-pulling, and even kidnapping are among Krampus’ ever-growing repertoire. The threat of Krampus being the one to give you a “treat” or even steal you away forever on the feast of St. Nicholas is a scary thought. It may seem harsh or even cruel, but the fear of Krampus has kept many a soul on the path of goodness. Lest you think Krampus is all bad, He doesn’t dole out unnecessary punishments, just to those who deserve them. In that way Krampus is the yin to St. Nicholas’s yang and together they make a perfect partnership of light and dark.
The Krampus tradition is certainly a lot more threatening than a lump of coal, but I think it’s also a lot richer and meaningful too, don’t you?
Namaste ~ Ella
** If there’s a word you’d like to see added to the Word Nerd roster, please feel free to drop me a line or suggest it in the comments – I love feedback and recommendations!