Gruß vom Krampus — Card series III

December 4th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Krampus Iconography

Krampus is a satyr-figure with specific features. He has a long tongue and pronounced nose and ears. He is covered in fur and has one human leg matched with the cloven hoof goat-satyr leg. He carries (or rides) a black birch switch. He sometimes carries chains or a basket which he wears on his back. He also carries a pitchfork or trident.

The Krampus is also associated with hearts – he judges yours. Sometimes you see him represented with a scale, weighing your heart to see how black it is.

He also seems to be associated with justice for those spurned or forlorn in the matters of love and relationships, hence today’s card. I’m guessing this card would be sent tongue-in-cheek, to a lover during Saint Nicholas Nacht / Krampus Nacht:

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Hättest mir nicht mein herz gestohlen
Käme dich nicht der Krampus holen
Gruß vom Krampus!

If I didn’t have my heart stolen (by you)
The Krampus wouldn’t come to get you!
Greetings from the Krampus!

Gruß vom Krampus series, card II

December 3rd, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Ponder this – other than getting coal for Christmas, Santa Claus just isn’t that scary. I know we all love to browse through the annual re-posting of the kids disturbed by the Jolly Old Elf, but he just doesn’t instill a palpable sense of dread.

You’d better watch out, You’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.

That’s really not much of a threat. I think this factor leads to my love for the dual nature of the European old (St.) Nick. The Devil coming to get you with his switch and horns and chains and claws? Yes, that the stuff. That should definitely inspire more nightmares than a lump of old coal.

Consider that nugget in the card below, where we get a close approximation to Coots’s and Gillespie’s lyrics above:

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Sei nur brav und niemals keck
Dann der Krampus schaut um’s eck

Be only well-behaved and never saucy,
(for) the Krampus is looking around the corner.

He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. Gruß vom Krampus!

And Yes, I know – another post with no cocktails. Hey, this is the “indigo firmaments” part of the blog and it has been ingored a bit as of late. I do promise that by the end of the week I’ll have a new cocktail for you all: The Krampus Swizzle. 5 points for the first person to get the connection.

Gruß vom Krampus

November 17th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Every December Heather and I throw a Christmas cocktail party centered around the germanic tradition of The Krampus. Krampus is a devil figure who accompanies Saint Nicholas. While old St. Nick gives nuts, fruit and candies for the good little boys and girls, the Krampus doles out punishment for the bad girls and boys: A piece of coal for their black little hearts, a beating with a black birtch switchel, or perhaps he’ll dump you in the river. He might even steal you away and take you back to Hell with him.

The same cultural role of the Krampus can be seen in other Christmas-time heavy homologues such as Black Peter, Pelznickel & Knecht Ruprect. Here in the New World, he has diminished and multiplied into Santa’s helper elves. A shame.

There are a wonderful collection of German post cards that feature the Krampus – often warning the sender and recipient from evil and sinful behavior. Gruß vom Krampus (Greetins from the Krampus) reminds everyone that the all-knowing devil sees you when you’re sleeping.

I’ll eventually get to some cocktail recipies centered around the Krampus in the weeks to come but until then I will feature a series of these vintage post cards. Where I can, I will translate.

Here is the first:
KrampusChain18-9-6638

Gruß vom Krampus!

Warst nicht brav,
drum hoppla-hopp,
Kommt das Krampus
im Galopp.

Greetings from the Krampus!

If you were not well behaved
by hopping to it,
Krampus will come
a-galloping.

This year Krampus Nacht is on Saturday 6th December with another night on Sunday 7th December for Service Industry friends who are busy pouring Saturday Nights.

Gruß vom Krampus!