Saints and Devils, Fire and Snow

Today is Nicholastag (St. Nicholas Day)! I hope you’ve been good this year and woke up to find candies in your boot and not switches (or worse, Krampus at your door)!

Travels and Tomes: One Expat's Amblings and Ramblings

st nick kramp cookie cut jazzup

You need only scratch the surface of modern Europe to see the pulsing of its medieval veins.  This can be a little unnerving, but it’s also deeply gratifying in a way that’s hard to pin down.

Take Christmas traditions as an example.  In America, we embrace a jovial, generous Santa Claus (who, for all of his good character points, does seem to team up with Coca Cola, Hollywood, and the rest of the commercial establishment a little too often for comfort).  He surrounds himself with other agreeable characters– Rudolph and Frosty–and they have a jolly time.  Sure, adversity must be overcome, but their stories never really cross to the dark side.

Would you like a little saccharin with that sweet?

krampus st nick victorian postcard Looks like St. Nick brought his scary friend. (Krampus and St. Nick on a vintage postcard)

Not so in Germany and Austria.  Oh, they’ll serve you sweets at each turn this time of year, but you’re…

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