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In earlier Chistmas traditions, St Nicholas (not Santa Claus) was accompanied by a demon who would torment the wicked - hence the naughty or nice meme.
is a frightening devil-like figure found with St. Nicholas in Austria, southern Germany, and some other Eastern European areas. He is dressed in fur with horns and a long red tongue. He is sometimes in chains to show he is under the saint's control and would not be able to harm people. In some places there are very frightening Krampus visits and runs that include hitting passersby and onlookers, including children, with sticks, completely terrorizing children.
Krampus is also the great-grandfather of heavy metal.
Reminds me of the stories my dad would tell about his father's father. They came from Germany and had this tradition involving something similiar to this character, called ( I can't actually spell it for the life of me) The Beeljneggul, he'd throw an ox hide over himself and cover himself in chains and come walking in rattling the chains and making crazy noises to scare the children into good behavior.
Gotta love it.
-------------------- In the strangeness of this transitory state, this dying life, this is what we choose for ourselves?
we still do this in germany. he's called "knecht ruprecht" and not only are we told that he'll accompany santa clause, but two neighbours might dress like santa and him and bring you some presents. even though he wouldnt terrorize children, he would have a birch like in the pictures.