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16 June, 2024
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Unveiling the dark side of Christmas traditions

Exploring the evolution of ''Krampus''



By Charalambos Stylianou

As December unwraps its festive allure, the question looms large: What truly defines Christmas? Is it the glittering lights, festive feasts, and gift exchanges, or does the essence of this season transcend the commercialized merry-making?

In the shadow of the famed poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," which has etched gift-giving into Christmas lore, one must question if the economic fervor of Christmas shopping captures its deeper significance.

Enter the Krampus Parade in the Austrian Alps, an audacious challenge to the rampant commercialism that has enveloped the season. Here, the legend of Krampus, a half-man, half-goat demon, takes center stage, urging us to rethink the true meaning of Christmas.

The Krampus Parade itself is a spectacle, with marchers donning eerie costumes reminiscent of cavemen and Vikings.

Over 200 parade clubs meticulously plan every detail, from costumes to marching formations, highlighting the effort to reclaim tradition from the jaws of consumerism. For those on the sidelines, it offers a thrilling, albeit chilling, experience.

Venturing into Eastern Europe, we encounter Krampus not as Santa's jolly companion, but as a monstrous counterpart, snatching naughty children in stark contrast to the festive cheer of St. Nick.

Recent parades, serve as chilling reminders of how ancient folklore interweaves with modern twists, raising questions about the evolution of traditions.

The dark turn in an Austrian Krampus festival, where an actor's reckless use of symbolic sticks led to injuries, brings to light the delicate balance between tradition and safety.

Elaborate Krampus costumes, crafted from animal skins with attached cowbells, showcase a tangible link to pagan German traditions, raising eyebrows and sparking conversations about cultural heritage.

Despite the terror Krampus may instill, especially for those unfamiliar with the festival, it's noteworthy how officials in an Austrian community prepared Syrian and Iraqi refugees for the unique celebration.

The newcomers, it seems, embraced the festivities with enthusiasm, challenging preconceived notions about the universality of holiday traditions.

In the grand tapestry of Christmas, love emerges as the golden thread, weaving through ages and scriptures. The story of God incarnating as Jesus Christ, an act rooted in boundless love, becomes the heartbeat of the season.

Christmas, beyond the glitter and merriment, is a celebration of God's ultimate gift, the birth of Jesus.

So, in the midst of the celebrations, let joy reverberate, for Christmas, at its core, is the celebration of love incarnate, the gift of Jesus. As we navigate the season, perhaps it's time to reconsider how we unwrap the traditions and values that make Christmas truly meaningful.

Cyprus  |  Christmas  |  Krampus  |  parade  |  festival  |  Jesus

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