Who is the Krampus?: A Modern Guide to Krampusmas

              Krampusmas is an ever expanding holiday season based on the Krampus's own indefatigable defiance of the darkness. It usually begins in earnest on December 5th, with the year's first official Krampuslauf, a decentralized “parade” which serves as a gathering for all those who wish to pledge themselves to the returning God of Light as we enter upon this delicate period of solar transition. Just over two weeks later, the Winter Solstice arrives, and with it comes "the Great Solstice Battle," which has traditionally been marked with various contests between the various agents of the light and of the dark, culminating in one last epic struggle between the Oak and the Holly Kings. This one sacred night is typically considered by most to be the actual “Krampusmas holiday,” but this well beloved season of defiance seems to arrive, at least for me, earlier and earlier, and to then stretch on for longer and longer, with every passing year.

             Of course, beyond these two essential dates, any other of the more conventional holidays one might wish to acknowledge can be engaged in as each individual sees fit. However, for reasons that will momentarily be made clear, obligatory acts of mass consumerism are very strongly discouraged, and, whenever possible, should be replaced with actual acts of charity, preformed either anonymously or in the name of Krampus.

             Yet who, you may ask, is the Krampus, and what's his beef with consumerism anyway? So glad that you asked.

             The pre-Christian origins of the Krampus reach all the way back to the so-called Wildmen that were believed to preside over the initiatory binding and scourging of novice witches. The Krampus's infamous birch branches are in fact a very well known magical tool for the driving out of unclean spirits, and indeed, later day tales of "bad" children carried away in a sack could indicate a form of forced conscription into one of the many dark corners of the Supramundane, just as with the Chinese Linn Quei or the Irish Fae.

             Yet, unquestionably, the Krampus's greatest and most defining role was preformed as the immortal God of Spring known as the Oak King. Each year, at the Winter Solstice, this God of Light battled and overthrew the God of Darkness and Winter, who appeared as a bearded and burly woodsman, complete with heavy black boots and a fur lined coat, known, at that time at least, as the Holly King.

             However, with the arrival of the aptly named Dark Ages, a pagan slaying Catholic Bishop named Nicholas of Mira somehow assumed the immortal station of this ancient pagan arch-villain, and the once heroic Krampus found himself securely bound in heavy iron chains, forced to serve as a brutish boogeyman for his eternally entropic antagonist the Holly King, or rather, as he has now come to be known all around the world, the saccharine and sanctimonious Santa Claus.

             From that time forward, this well concealed Dark God of winter and decay has been able to rule the entire world, year round, as the now uncontested God of Frenzied Mass Consumption. This, my friends, is the true story of Christmas, known only to a select few, though consistently intuited by millions. Yet fear not; the true God of Yule will soon return- on December 21st, to be precise.

             So please, don't forget to sharpen your horns and, in whatever ways that you can, defy the darkness.

             Merry Krampusmas everybody.

 
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