Friday, December 6, 2019

K.A.C. 2019 - T - 19 ...

     Welcome back! We continue our Christmas For Your Ears presentation with another entry for your enjoyment. As technology improved, radios got smaller and more portable, so you could take them anywhere (like this spiffy Admiral model) and listen to your favorite shows on the go, like this episode of Suspense from December 21st, 1953, called The Night Before Christmas and starring Greer Garson (pictured at right):




     OK, I tried - I honestly tried to be done with the Krampus knockoffs and posers to the throne, having mentioned Pere Fouettard and Hans Trapp. But it looks like we're not quite done - one last fellow wants his moment in the sun ... so let's get this over with. Well, at least we're not still in France! Nope, this time we cross the border into Germany and Saint Nicholas' other other companion - ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce 'Rough Nicholas', or as he's most commonly known ... Knecht Rupert!

     He's rather tame compared to his French counterparts. Wikipedia has this to say about him:

     "Knecht Ruprecht is Saint Nicholas' most familiar attendant in Germany. According to some stories, Ruprecht began as a farmhand; in others, he is a wild foundling whom Saint Nicholas raises from childhood.

     Ruprecht wears a black or brown robe with a pointed hood. Sometimes he walks with a limp, because of a childhood injury. He can be seen carrying a long staff and a bag of ashes, and on occasion wears little bells on his clothes. Sometimes he rides on a white horse, and sometimes he is accompanied by fairies or men with blackened faces dressed as old women.
     According to Alexander Tille, Knecht Ruprecht originally represented an archetypal manservant, "and has exactly as much individuality of social rank and as little personal individuality as the Junker Hanns and the Bauer Michel, the characters representative of country nobility and peasantry respectively." Tille also states that Knecht Ruprecht originally had no connection with Christmastime.Ruprecht was a common name for the Devil in Germany, and Grimm states that "Robin Goodfellow is the same home-sprite whom we in Germany call Knecht Ruprecht and exhibit to children at Christmas..."

     Knecht Ruprecht first appears in written sources in the 17th century, as a figure in a Nuremberg Christmas procession. Samuel Taylor Coleridge encountered Knecht Ruprecht in a 1798 visit to Ratzeburg, a town in northern Germany.
     According to tradition, Knecht Ruprecht asks children whether they can pray. If they can, they receive apples, nuts and gingerbread. If they cannot, he hits the children with his bag of ashes. In other versions of the story, Knecht Ruprecht gives naughty children gifts such as lumps of coal, sticks, and stones, while well-behaving children receive sweets from Saint Nicholas. He also reported to give naughty children a switch (stick) in their shoes for their parents to hit them with, instead of sweets, fruit and nuts, in the German tradition.
In related folk traditions more closely associated with certain regions in the High Alps, particularly the snowy villages south and west of Salzburg in Austria, the Knecht Ruprecht character functions as Saint Nicholas' assistant, rather than as the primary actor in the early December rituals; keeping a watchful eye on the benevolent saint during his journey. Both are, in turn, accompanied in these regions by an assortment of terrifying horned, goat-like creatures known as the Krampus, who seek out and terrorize misbehaving children identified by Saint Nicholas for punishment. Austrian children grow up believing the worst offenders are whipped with birch switches, and sometimes stuffed in a hessian sack and thrown into an icy river for their bad deeds!
     In the Mittelmark Knecht Ruprecht is known as De hêle Christ ("The Holy Christ"). He was also known as Hans Ruprecht, Rumpknecht, and in Mecklenburg, was called Rû Clås (Rough Nicholas). In the Altmark and in East Friesland, he was known as Bûr and Bullerclås."

      That's it, I promise! We're putting to bed all Krampi and Krampi contenders for the year - we've got a LOT of other ground to cover - like what, you ask? Come back tomorrow and see!

No comments:

Post a Comment