Friday, December 28, 2012

Scary Night Visitors

From BBC News, Bogeymen: Five Scary Visitors in the Night by Lucy Proctor describes some little known, scary alternatives to the gift-giving Santa Claus, such as the Gryla from Iceland:

"Her story goes back to pagan times, but in more recent centuries she has become part of Christmas - making the trip down to the towns and cities, searching for naughty children.

She returns to her cave with a bag stuffed full of crying youngsters, whom she boils alive and gobbles up."

And Zwarte Piet from the Netherlands:

"Until the 19th Century, Sinterklaas did his own dirty work, bringing good children presents, but taking bad ones away in his sack for re-education and a beating.

But in 1850, children's author Jan Schenkman drew him with a black servant, who later became known as Zwarte Piet. It is now Zwarte Piet's job to go down the chimney to deliver presents and catch the less fortunate children."

It's a fun, quick read with some surprising information-although maybe less surprising if you're already familiar with the dark side of folklore and how it has become more and more tamed over the years.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a good read, I read the whole article. Italy has a witch, as well. It's very funny to see all the witch-and-broom puppets hanging up in the shops around Christmastime there!