Wednesday, December 3, 2014
K.A.C. 2014 - T - 22 ...
Whoa, hold on there - what? Let's just say somebody got into the eggnog a bit too early and too much, as this recent story from St. Paul, Minnesota tells us:
Well, with that kind of lead-in, it's time to look at this year's Christmas monster. Over the years we've covered everything from our buddy (and K.A.C. mascot) Krampus to the Icelandic
Jólakötturinn (the 'Christmas Cat'). Most of these creatures all have one thing in common: they show up at the 'best' time of year to track down and punish the 'worst' people ... usually bad or disobedient children who won't behave and so are switched, thrown in a bag and dragged off to Hell. What a way to spend the holidays!
This year is no exception, as we present Frau Perchta. The Mental Floss website had this to say about her:
"Tales told in Germany and Austria sometimes feature a witch named Frau Perchta who hands out both rewards and punishments during the 12 days of Christmas (December 25 through Epiphany on January 6). She is better known for her gruesome punishment of the sinful: she will rip out your internal organs and replace them with garbage! The ugly image of Perchta may show up Christmas processions in Austria, somewhat like Krampus.
That part about ripping out the internal organs is expanded on by Jacob Grimm (of the Brothers Grimm) in Grimm's Teutonic Mythology (1888), where he mentions she was also known as Frau Berchta (or Bertha):
"Bertha is reportedly angered if on her feast day, the traditional meal of fish and gruel is forgotten, and will slit people's bellies open and stuff them with straw if they eat something else that night."
Wikipedia adds: "In the folklore of Bavaria and Austria, Perchta was said to roam the countryside at midwinter, and to enter homes between the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany (especially on the Twelfth Night). She would know whether the children and young servants of the household had behaved well and worked hard all year. If they had, they might find a small silver coin next day, in a shoe or pail. If they had not, she would slit their bellies open, remove stomach and guts, and stuff the hole with straw and pebbles. She was particularly concerned to see that girls had spun the whole of their allotted portion of flax or wool during the year."
For much more on her and her surprising good attributes, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perchta
By the way, there's also an annual Perchtan festival in Germany - Bill H. sent along these GREAT pix from this year's event!
You can see the rest of them at the link below:
So what's the moral here? Be good, do your chores and make sure you've spun all your flax this year ... or you'll get gutted like a fish! Yeah, for most of us, that's not happening, so we'll just have to take our chances.