The Not-so Usual Suspects
Christmas is nearly here, other than Jesus himself, the only other character that has been imprinted on our brain since childhood is Santa Claus. Perhaps his Reindeer and Elves too. But there are few other characters related to Christmas which are supposedly infamous, however, famous due to their peculiarity. Here is the simple “fun-intended” guide to peculiar entities of Christmas. P.S. No genocide obsessed ogre hazards (reference to the “Chronicles of Spiderwick). So, feel free to share around.
Santa Claus a.k.a. Saint Nicholas / Santa Kurohsu
Wondering why is Santa Claus on our list of Peculiar Christmas Characters? maybe he isn’t that peculiar… Or is he? He is always depicted as an oversized elderly man with snow white hair, moustache and beard. But how is this oversized old man more agile than most young men? he can jump heights as tall as chimneys, go through spaces that aren’t humanly possible to fit into in the first place? Not to mention he managed to get not a single taint of black ash on his pure white hairs. Peculiar! Not peculiar enough? Did you know that the Japanese version of Santa Claus called Santa Kurohsu, have eyes at the back of his head to watch kids if they are being naughty? Imagine finding two eyeballs under his locks of cloudy white hairs.
Aside from not getting any credit for the pretty fern frost art on the windows, blamed for everything the winter cold does, from Frostbite, Nipped extremities and Chill Shivers Blame Jack Frost! Of all his fellow of Legends such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman and etc, Jack Frost is the only one who gets the least attention from people. Often he was depicted as a cold villain (pun intended) scheming against Santa to steal Christmas and make it “Frost-mas”. After the 2012’s Rise of the Guardians movie, Jack finally got his place amongst peoples hearts as a charming, handsome, kind and selfless fellow of Legend. Now he has his fan club.
If you feel like you just had a nightmare like losing your irritating and annoying family member, then next you wake up to find how grateful you are to have them with you, there may be a chance that you are living in a Krampus’s snow globe. A horned headed, tall, hoofed creature is the bringer of wrath upon whoever disrespect the spirit of the holiday. Always carrying a sack full of “gifts” that is evil and a basket to carry the naughty back to hell. He makes you understand how helpless you are against his wrath despite the “heads-up” he gives with the sound of his chains and various sized bells that dangle off him. So never! Ever! Ever! Disrespect the Christmas spirit. Tolerate the unpleasant and be the pleasant one, show love to your family and neighbours, just to avoid the dark-counterpart of Santa Claus.
Caganer – defecator
The origin of this belief is unknown, Caganer translates to defecator. This is a popular Holiday tradition in Catalonia, Spain and regions around it. as the legend goes farmers that don’t put out a figurine of the Caganer will be punished with misfortunes and poor crop harvest. The tradition is carried forward to this day. Along with classic figures of Caganers, you can also find Caganers featuring famous actors, football players and even American Presidents. Another version of this is where a hollow decorated log managed with candies days before Christmas. On a special day, the Caganer placed in fire
Befana the Christmas witch
Just like Pre-Christmas promotions, Befana is Pre-Santa witch. An old, not so good-looking hag flying around the sky 20 days before the day of Saint Nicholas. Just like Santa, she too leaves sweets and gifts for the well-behaved children while leaving sticks and coal for the naughty. Known to have what nowadays known as an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), she likes to keep things clean and tidy. She seems to get into your house through the chimney to leave her gifts and even enjoy a small glass of wine and food left by good Italian believers. to children though. Don’t stay up to catch Befana in action. Folks say that you will get a good smack on your head with her broomstick if you see her. so be wary of this witch as she doesn’t like to be seen.
Kallikantzaros are goblins from the underworld. Due to their evil nature, they have been in an eternal war to cut down the World Tree. Every year they come dangerously close to succeeding. But then Christmas comes, hence they are given entry to our world. Extremely tempted by the offer to bring chaos into our lives, they leave the World Tree business and join us on the surface. Not to worry though. Leaving a colander at your doorstep and leaving your fireplace lit all night keep the Kallikantzaros away. After having their fun here, they return to the underworld as the gate closes to again devote themselves to cutting down the World Tree. Good thing is, during their absence the world tree completely heals from the previous sawing making the Kallikantzaros start over from the beginning. This repeats as if they are stuck in their own version of hell!
The Yule Cat & Yule Lads
Is a vicious and malicious man-eating cat that eats those who don’t wear, give or receive any new clothes on Christmas Eve. To prevent this, Icelanders used to work hard and meet their deadline for making autumn wool. so that they can gift new clothes on Christmas Eve. Often associated with the thirteen Yule Lads. The Yule Lads leave gifts and punishments on the shoes left on the window frames of each nice Icelanders house. Despite the generosity of leaving gifts, they are also known for being mischievous.
Every hero needs a side-kick. Black Pete is Santa Claus’ sidekick. He is always depicted as a small sized lad with black powder smeared on his face. Probably now we know how the big fat Santa manages to place gifts through the Chimney without getting ash smeared all over him. Black Pete is small enough to fit and the black powder on his face could be the soot from the chimney. Black Pete does the hard work and Who gets the credit? Let’s thank Black Pete too, this Christmas.