Scary Christmas Characters

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Millions of people surely know who Santa Claus is – he is the jolly good fellow who gives out Christmas gifts to nice and well behaved kids during the year. Additionally, if a kid is naughty, he / she wouldn’t receive any gifts from Saint Nick (Santa Claus is also known as Saint Nicholas or Saint Nick).

However, if Santa Claus and his red sack of goodies is popularly known around the globe, how about creepy or scary Christmas characters? Does anyone know one aside from the Grinch? As it curiously turns out, some countries or cultures have one or two interesting nasty figures that are associated with Christmas – and these characters are on the same frightening as the Grinch.

This post aims to highlight three scary / creepy Christmas characters” from Austria, Catalonia, and Greece.


Creepy Christmas Character 1: Krampus

Hailing from Austria, it appears that Krampus is deeply entrenched in Austrian Christmas culture just like Saint Nick. If naughty kids think that Santa Claus is a bad dude for not giving them gift, then they should think again when they meet Krampus. Unlike Saint Nick’s jolly red nature and kind happy persona, Krampus is a terrifying figure that is typically depicted with dirty rags, scary masks, and dragging chains.

It is widely believed that Krampus is considered as one of the companions of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus). When Saint Nick goes out and gives away presents, Krampus accompanies him – but instead of presents, he tosses out coal or small tree branches at children. There are some Austrians who also indicates that Krampus sometimes goes out alone and even beats naughty children with branches (ouch!)


Photos of Krampus

Here we see a terrifying figure of Krampus
(Source: Google Images)


Here we see Krampus hauling along terrified children
(Source: Google Images)

Video of Krampus during an Austrian Christmas Season

(Source: YouTube)


Unique Christmas Celebration 2: Kallikantzaros

Our second creepy Christmas character is from Greece. In contrast to the origins of Krampus (which is unknown), the Greeks has a detailed folklore describing Kallikantzaros. According to Greek mythology, these (yes folks – they are a group) goblin looking magical spirits are said to appear during Christmas day and wreak havoc for 12 days (yikes!) However, their mayhem mostly includes mischievous activities like breaking furnitures, tipping things over, intimidating people, etc…

Anyway, going back to the lore, it is said that Kallikantzaros dwells underground as they are trying to saw the world tree – with the intent of cutting it and making the whole earth collapse. When they are about to accomplish their goal, Christmas arrived and they went to the surface to trouble humans for 12 days (since the sun is nowhere to be seen during the winter solstice). When the long night is over and the sun is about to appear, the Kallikantzaros goes back underground. Unfortunately, the world tree has already healed itself at which time they have to saw again from the beginning.


Kallikantzaros pictures

Here we can see a group of Kallikantzaros sawing the World Tree
(Source: Google Images)

In this picture, we can see a group of people dressed up as Kallikantzaros
(Source: Google Images)


Video of how Christmas is celebrated in Greece

(Source: YouTube)


Unique Christmas Celebration 3: Caganer

Unlike the Greeks and Austrians, Catalonia and its culture have a rather strange or unique Christmas tradition. It does not involve scary figures – and it is unsure if this character is out to cause trouble. For those who are not aware, in Catalan culture, their Belen also includes a Caganer.

Belen is actually a symbolic Christmas scene that depicts the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Usually, this nativity scene includes Joseph and Mary (Jesus parents), the three kings who followed a shining star leading them to the holy family to offer their gifts, sheperds, barn animals, and an angle.

So why is it strange to add a Caganer in a Belen? Well, basically, a Caganer (or El Caganer) literally means “the crapper” or “the shitter” El Caganer is usually portrayed as a Catalan peasant, wearing their traditional barretina head gear (red cap), trousers down, showing their butt cheeks, and doing their poopy business.

As mentioned, it is not sure if the Caganer is doing his business to cause trouble to the holy nativity scene. The exact origins on how the Caganer was included on the Catalan’s nativity portrait remains unknown. But what people do know is that he started appearing on the late 17th or early 18th century.


Pictures of a Caganer


The two photos above showcases the front and rear view of a typical Caganer figurine
(Source:Wikipedia Images)


Video of a traditional Catalan Christmas carol

(Source: YouTube)


Different cultures celebrate Christmas differently. They have their own traditions and even characters that are associated with this season. However, even though practiced uniquely, the main theme and spirit remains – to commemorate the birth and coming of Jesus Christ.

Be sure to check this link/post (Three Different Kinds Of Christmas Gift Ideas)  for some different but cool Christmas gift ideas. It is Christmas season after all. Hope you had fun with these informational facts. Stay tuned for more Christmas trivia.

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