Thursday, 13 December 2018

Knecht Ruprecht

Knecht Ruprecht


A companion of Santa who appears on Christmas Eve - He has a long beard, wears fur, or is covered in pea straw.
Ruprecht is another word for the devil
Much like other Christmas traditions in Germany, he is a dark figure that plays against Santa's light.
Knecht Ruprecht sometimes carries a long staff and a bag of ashes and wears little bells on his clothes.
sometimes he rides on a white horse, and sometimes he is accompanied by fairies, or men with blackened faces, dressed as old women
According to tradition, Knecht Ruprecht asks children whether they can pray, if they can, the receive apples, nuts and gingerbread. If they cannot, he beats the children with his bag of ashes!



Researched and written by Allen Tiller
First published 2012 ©

La Befana

La Befana


Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve.
In popular folklore, Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of or dark candy if they are bad.
Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves.
The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Belfana, an Italian tradition.



Researched and written by Allen Tiller

First published 2012 ©

Yulemen - Icelandic Santa's

Yulemen - Icelandic Santa's



Figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus.
Their number has varied throughout the ages, but currently there are considered to be thirteen.
Each individual Yuleman of the 13 range from mere pranksters to homicidal monsters who eat children!

Here is a "toned down" version of the current 13:

SHEEP-COT CLOD: Sneaks into the sheep cot (pen) and harasses the sheep.
GULLY GAWK: Tries to milk cows because he loves heavy froth on milk.

SHORTY: Hovers in the kitchen, waiting for the chance to snatch a roast.
LADLE LICKER: So thin he resembles the utensil he loves to lick.
POT SCRAPER: Snatches dirty pots and pans and scrapes the burned-on food by hand.

BOWL LICKER: Like the puppy of the house, he’s adept at licking bowls clean.

DOOR SLAMMER: Out of sight, late at night, doors go bang in the night.
SKYR GOBBER: Skyr is the Icelandic term for yogurt, which he has a penchant for.

SAUSAGE SNATCHER: Skilled at clambering into rafters, where the sausages are hung to smoke.

WINDOW PEEPER: A very ugly guy, who can be a fright to see peering through windows.

DOOR SNIFFER: Leave the door to the kitchen ajar and he’ll stick his big nose into it, looking for food to steal.

MEAT HOOK: Down your chimney comes his long pole with a hook on the end, aimed at snatching meat that may be hanging from your rafters.

CANDLE BEGGER: Steals Christmas candles when no one is looking.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller

First published 2012 ©

Norway’s Christmas Brooms

Norway’s Christmas Brooms



On Christmas Eve, after the family’s big dinner, it is time to open presents. Then all the brooms in the house are hidden. The Norwegians, long ago, believed that witches and naughty spirits came out on Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms for riding.
Spruce logs are burnt in the fireplace to keep the witches away
The hot sparks rising up the chimney will keep the witches from coming down and into the house.
Lights are left on all night to keep evil spirits away. A single bright light sits in the window to welcome any Christmas Travellers...



Researched and written by Allen Tiller

First published 2012 ©

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Stockings


Where did the hanging of Christmas stockings above the fireplace at Christmas begin?

It would seem its origins stem from St Nicholas who was born in Greece, also known as “Nikolaos the Wonderworker” or “Nikolaos of Myra”.
Legend has it that a poor Fathers daughters remained unmarried due to him not having enough money to pay a dowry as he was very poor. St Nicholas heard of the poor Father's plight and sorrow and took it upon himself to help the poor Father.
That night, St Nicholas entered the poor Fathers home and filled the daughter's stockings, which were drying above the fireplace, with gold coins so the Father could pay the dowry.
St. Nicholas, being a shy and secretive man, did what he did with no need for gratitude as he was a humble servant of God undertaking deeds that lifted his fellow man.

Random acts of kindness can go far, it can be as a simple as offering someone an ear to listen, a cup of tea, or a simple smile. Christmas this year is hard for many, please donate your unwanted goods to charity, or a little money, and help spread some Christmas cheer to someone a little less fortunate as you, just like Saint Nicholas did in his day.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller


First published 2012 ©

El Festival de los Rabanos



El Festival de los Rabanos



Radish figures line the central plaza of Oaxaca Mexico on December 23rd and 24th. Nativity scenes, conquistadors, dancers, historical and mythological events are sculpted from radishes by Mexican artisans and add to the colour of holiday celebrations.
El Festival de los Rabanos (The Festival of Radishes) is a one-of-a-kind festival that features dance, food and delicately craved radishes...

A colourful Mexican Christmas tradition!

Researched and written by Allen Tiller

First published 2012 ©

The Ghost of Christmas Present:



The Ghost of Christmas Present:



The spirit transports Scrooge around the city, showing him scenes of Christmas festivity, but also deprivation. As they watch the spirit sprinkles a little Christmas warmth from his torch.
They travel to various places, one being to the home of Scrooges nephew, another to the home of Scrooges clerk Bob Cratchit.

The spirit shares a vision with Ebenezer of Tiny Tim Cratchit's crutch, carefully placed near the families fireplace. Scrooges as the spirit if Tim will die. The Ghost states “ If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die!”

Later the spirit reveals to Scrooge two emaciated children from underneath his robes. The two children are loathsome to behold. The spirit names the boy “Ignorance and the girl child “Want”.
The spirit warns Scrooge “Beware them both and all of the degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is doom unless the writing be erased”

The Ghost of Christmas present reveals to Scrooge that he only exists for one day a year and that he has 1842 brothers that have come before him.
The clock strikes midnight and the spirit disappears.....Scrooge watches intently as "The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come" approaches “like a mist across the ground”...



Researched and written by Allen Tiller

First published 2012 ©