I’ve been having some thoughts about this week. Tonight is Krampus Night. Tomorrow (Dec 6) is St. Nicholas Day. If you’ve got kids, these sorts of things matter.
Last Tradhican, over at Cathinfo yesterday, took the time to remind us that the Advent Wreath originated as a Protestant invention. It’s a fascinating story, and I recommend you read about it.
But the whole line of thought that he brought up merely reminds me of how Catholics latch onto the things of the fallen world around them, baptize them to one extent or another, and then it becomes institutionalized in Christian culture. I certainly don’t mind it. I like it. So does everyone else who enjoys Christmas trees. These things become efficacious for us as we seek to adore Christ.
You can go in a few directions with this kind of knowledge. Firstly, you can just accept the fact that human beings latch onto the ideas of other human beings, and we drag cultural things along and turn it into a part of our patrimony. I’m often content to simply do that.
Another direction is for people to sink into purity spiral arguments. Some will argue that “the advent wreath isn’t Catholic enough” or some such thing, or that this tradition comes from this region, and that tradition comes from that area, and you can find yourselves arguing with purists. Such people will argue with you: “The reindeer, goat, and dwarven imagery is pure Scandinavian, and it was imagery that was there in the pure pagan days, long before Christianity!” I was in a conversation a few years ago with a friend who tried picking a fight with me about this very thing a few years ago, and it bored me to death.
And really, there’s so many contributions to the Christmas phenomenon that I don’t think the world is finished absorbing and deciding what to do with all of the stuff that has percolated and coalesced during the centuries.
I mean, I don’t think that the world is going to rush out to start the poop log tradition any time soon. Nor do I believe that we’re about to see a great rush of people to put on blackface and start helping Santa Clause pass out candy in broad daylight (though I can easily see this as some sort of hilariously witty, controversial, deviant political act on the part of college agitators).
But who knows? Who knows what traditions will make their way out of the various climes of the world? Anything is possible with the internet. I’ve been quite surprised by what I’ve learned about Christmas in the last five years. None of this would have been possible for me without the internet. Sure, there’s always been books about this stuff out there somewhere. But now? This sort of trivia is really accessible to us.
I for one love the various weird things I’ve been learning about how other folks do Advent and Christmas celebrations. In fact, I think it’d be awesome to erect our own Gävle Goat here in my town, and shoot it to death with roman candles on Krampus Night. We could throw in an effigy of the Devil while we sip on a nice flask of hot liquor. I suppose we could have St. Nicholas parade around the party and give out chocolate gold coins to the kiddies, while someone in a Krampus suit stalks around to instill fear into their hearts.
But before I end this post, I’ve really gotta say something about this phenomenon called the Krampus Walk. Admittedly, these things look cool as Hell. Literally. It’s one of my guilty pleasures to watch these parades coming out of Europe. I’m a fantasy fiction writer, and I love a good villain. I even bought a Krampus ornament last year. It’s funny for me.
But, uh, be that as it may–it sorta looks like St. Nicholas is the king of demons with these Krampus Walks. If I were a bettin’ man, I’d say that the Devil himself is trying to appeal to people’s baser desires with the Krampus phenomenon.
Ought there not be only one Christmas Devil? Granted, the alpine climes that Krampus originates from have a rich history of mischievous devils and imps that stem back to their pagan history. But I would contend that Christmas is to be a symbol of God’s triumphs, for the most part. Having a Christmas parade filled with anthropomorphic beast demons sort of extols…well, demons. I mean, you gotta ask yourself, with a Krampus Walk, are people celebrating a saint, or are they celebrating how cool the furry devils look?
In fact, seeing as how Oklahoma is set to be on track as being a satanist cultural center (courtesy of our infamous black masses on public property, and accompanying lackluster emphasis on spiritual exorcism combat)–I would hazard to guess that we might even see some sort of a Krampus Walk funded by the Church of Satan in coming years. Call me crazy, it’s just a prediction. But I look at these videos of the Krampus Walks, and it’s easy to see where this could go.
Time will tell.
For now, the week that features St. Nicholas Day is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It gins up all sorts of speculation and wonder for me. Come to think of it, I got a couple of new ideas for that imaginary Advent party I was thinking about earlier. We could have someone else dressed up as St. Lucy. And perhaps we could even have a re-enactment of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. All in one big sort of festival.
Ah, to dream. It’s a fun time of the year.