It’s winter time and St. Nicholas is making his list and checking it twice, marking down who’s naughty or nice. As early as the 17th century, in Alpine Europe, nice children have been rewarded with gifts from St. Nicholas during this holiday season. But, naughty children are punished by his feisty companions, the Krampus!
Tall, hairy beasts with long wild horns and huge claws, the Krampus scare children into behaving. They walk menacingly, rattle rusty chains and ring loud bells, to announce their approach. Herding them is Saint Nicholas in his white bishop gowns and carrying a thick book of names.
The Krampus love to frighten bad children. Some take back the presents St. Nicholas has given, leaving a lump of coal instead. Some swat at naughty children with a switch, while other Krampus reach out and touch their faces, leaving an ashen mark that attracts bad dreams. The "Krampus can even carry off very bad children in a sack!"
St. Nicholas evolved into Santa Claus in the United States, but Santa neglected and eventually abandoned the punishment duties of the Krampus. Most American kids have never even heard of getting a lump of coal in their stockings. Santa only gives presents. Now the Krampus is coming to Bloomington to remind children - and adults - about the importance of being good and the fear of behaving badly.