bill-swift - December 2, 2015
When you travel as much as I do, one of the fun things to observe is the unique ways in which different countries celebrate the holidays. For example, in Latin America we leave out straw for the Three Wise Men's camels on El Dia de Los Reyes Magos. In Holland, Santa arrives by boat with a bunch of slaves. But perhaps the strangest celebration of the birth of Christ is the Krampus tradition in the Germanic speaking countries. In case you don't know, Krampus is a giant horned monster that beats and drags naughty kids to hell. Men dressed in hideous Krampus costumes wander around towns in Germany and Austria and wrestle and mock fight people as everyone slowly gets sauced on beer. But what are you to make of this if you are a recent immigrant?
There has been a huge influx of immigrants from the Middle East to Europe and the Austrian government of Virgen, (yes, really), is concerned that seeing a giant demon pretending to beat up children might scare the new immigrants. So, they've invited several community leaders and their kids to learn about the wonders of the Krampus tradition. Can you imagine immigrating to a country looking for freedom and better opportunities and then suddenly being pummeled by a giant goat man? I'd consider going somewhere else.