Did you know that Santa Claus has an evil sidekick? Children in Austria did. Every year Austrian children watch warily for "Krampus", Santa's horned and hair sidekick.
Krampus has been known as a devil-like figure that drives away evil spirits during the Christian holiday season. He appears alongside Santa around December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, and the two are still part of festivities in many parts of central Europe.
Boisterous young men wearing deer horns, masks with battery-powered red eyes, huge fangs, bushy coats of sheep's fur, and brandishing birchwood rods storm down the streets, confronting spectators gathered to watch the medieval spectacle, which is also staged in parts of nearby Hungary, Croatia and Germany's Bavaria state. Anyone who doesn't dodge or run away fast enough might get swatted -- although not hard -- with the rod.
According to an article from Reuters, these traditions didn't come under the spotlight until Santa was banned from visiting kindergartens in Vienna because he scared some children. I'm sure a lot of children have a Santa phobia but is banning him too extreme? Official reports have been denied but now only adults that children know can play the famous role and visit schools.
Now, an Austrian child pyschiatrist is asking for a ban on Krampus stating, "The Krampus image is connected with aggression, and in a world that is anyway full of aggression, we shouldn't add figures standing for violence... and hell."
He claims there have been known cases of "Krampus trauma". He said Krampus remained a popular custom probably because "there's a phenomenon of finding fear attractive," pointing for example to the frequently frightening, sometimes gruesome, plot twists in the classic fairy-tales of the Grimm brothers.
I can see how someone can be a bit afraid of him, but people are afraid of clowns too. Don't see anyone trying to ban them yet.
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