Friday, December 16, 2016

Better Be Good!

Okay - a weird emo-gee of Santa Claus

'Tis the Season for all good boys and girls to get ready for the visit from the slightly overweight man with the shiny white beard - yes, Santa is coming and all children on this spinning ball better be good.

Good children get presents and we all know what naughty children get - yep, lumps of coal.

Well, perhaps they get worse than coal - an IRS audit? Nope even that would be too lenient compared to what may be waiting if they go 364 as naughty boys and girls.

Let's examine other tales of the Santa Claus phenomenon - a phenomenon? How else could this be explained - a man being pulled in a sled by reindeer in the dead of night delivering treats and goodies to the entire world's population of good boys and girls? He's world famous and famously loved - that is a phenomenon in any language.

Good old St. Nick
Saint Nicholas - aka Santa Claus - is based (and of course J and L still believe in Santa Claus as does NASA) on the 4th century Greek Christian bishop of Myra. It was an area of the ancient Byzantine Empire (now Turkey) and the Bishop was known for handing out gifts to the poor. due to the time period he probably had a beard and a long robe as worn by many clergy of the era. Paintings, since photography was eons in the future - even depict his beard as white and flowing.

Wow, that sounds like the Santa Claus of today - bearded and robed.

Today's Santa Claus - much like his namesake 

So, this story has come through the ages as a kindly gentleman traveling the night skies carrying gifts to all the good children of the world.

What again about those who are not so good?

A little research can answer that question and at J and L we just love research.

The legend of Krampus is about the opposite of Santa Claus as there could be - wait, no - worse are to come later in this writing.

Krampus is a half-demon and half-goat creature who stirs around December 6th each year looking for children who have not behaved themselves. For most of these little darlings, he beats then into being good. If that doesn't work, drags them into his filthy and smelly lair for eternity.

This charming monster comes from the 'Krampen', German for claw (thus the demon stuff). He is supposed to be the son of Hel, the Norse myth who likes to terrify children worldwide - in many cultures he actually is the side-kick to the more kindly Santa Claus who, while busy handing out gifts to children ignores the beatings going down with claw man - upon the bad children.

Krampus loves children - naughty ones

So much for restorative justice.

How about this for Holiday Cheer?

Frau Perchta from Germany and Austria is a pretty ugly (not PC but the truth nonetheless) witch who hangs out in December handing out rewards as well as punishment for children. She seems to really relish the 12 days before Christmas in dealing with humans and truly enjoys ripping out internal organs of bad children and replacing the organs with garbage.

Perchta is all about being ugly - inside and outside


But there is her counterpart, the Italian witch La Befana who leaves presents and peoples entails in place - she's also ugly but must be pretty inside we think.

A nice Christmas witch - if there is such a thing
Then there's the Icelandic answer to cruelty - Gryla. A woman who had been married 3 times and had 72 children - a very busy cruel woman obviously - who showed up around the 17th century. She's there to deal with children who do not obey their parents by kidnapping, cooking and eating the bad children.

Gryla knows their faces will chance once the pot starts boiling
So much for the Holiday Feast.

Oh, and her children also like to cause mayhem from hiding gifts to murder. There's always something comforting with keeping up with a nice family tradition.

Okay - we could never turn down such a sweet face - here's a true story which leads into a myth - huh?

Quiet children and listen to the story of a Christmas Grinch who was not very kindly to youngsters either good or bad.

His name was Hans Trapp (not from the singing family troupe) who was from the Alsace and Lorraine regions in France. He was real and really evil - so much so that he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

Trapp was from the 15th century and was so evil that he was booted from the area for his debauchery and cruelty by his fellow citizens. He'd do anything to get richer and that included worshiping Satan - thus the reason for the excommunication.

One day Beelzebub ordered him to go in disguise as a scarecrow - hay hanging out of his sleeves so he could accomplish the act of luring a child into the woods in which he could eat. Disgusting but it almost worked, according to legend, when a ten year old Shepard boy wandered to close to the man disguised as a scare crow Trapp was able to stab him with a long sharpened stick.

Just as Hans Trapp was about ready to take a big old bite of the dying youth God shot Trapp with a bolt of lightening killing Trapp instantly and saving the boy. Since that time old Trapp can still be seen going from home to home scaring children into being good - he occasionally drools on the doorstep if the child looks overly tender.

Hans Trapp - he liked setting traps for children
So - we at J and L truly like the kinder gentler Santa Claus we know so well over those others who enjoy terrorizing children from around the world.

A lump of coal suddenly sounds good compared to a belly full of garbage - doesn't it?

Have a wonderfully fulfilling Holiday Season and remember to be good. You know what can happen now if you don't.

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