Sunday, December 26, 2004

Lost in Transit

Originally uploaded by Grace Nearing.
Christmas Season (Austria)

Sometimes it's hard to keep track of the Christmas season traditions here, especially as they gradually inflate.
First we celebrate Krampus and Nikolo some time in the first week of December, I think around the 5th (Krampus) and the 6th (Nikolo). Nikolo is the good guy, the bishop, where you put out your shoes the night before and he fills them with sweets, or at our house, peanuts, tangerines, a few sweets (usually chocolate Nikolos that look suspiciously like left-over Easter Bunnies wrapped in new foil) and underwear. Is there a patron saint of underwear?
Krampus is Nikolo's devilish sidekick. He goes around beating bad children. Our youngest daughter Gamma, aware how naughty she is, has been terrified of him ever since we explained to her what his function is. Kids would get coal, I suppose, or nothing at all really, since Nikolo is the day for the small presents, although women might be given naughty lingerie for Krampus, combining the underwear theme of the following day with the naughtiness inherent in Krampus.

More on an American expat's explorations of Christmas in Austria here.

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