Anthony Bourdain left us earlier this year, but the joy he found in the world's many cultures and traditions will always be around for us to savor.
In this quick holiday story, written by Bourdain, North America is given a brief, dark, humorous peek into the mythos surrounding Krampus, a goat-demon who comes during the Christmas holidays to punish children who misbehaved over the last year. A good pal of Santa Claus, Krampus, and the dread he has instilled in rotten kids for generations, most likely pre-dates Christianity.
There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches so well preserved. The birch – apart from its phallic significance – may have a connection with the initiation rites of certain witch-covens; rites which entailed binding and scourging as a form of mock-death. The chains could have been introduced in a Christian attempt to 'bind the Devil' but again they could be a remnant of pagan initiation rites.