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With the appearance of the demonic Christmas character Krampus in contemporary Hollywood movies,....


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With the appearance of the demonic Christmas character Krampus in contemporary Hollywood movies,....

30 review for The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    If you’re expecting a novel or a quick read, you’re out of luck since this book goes further depth into the Christmas devil Krampus. I simply enjoyed this book since I’m so fascinated with Krampus ever since I saw the 2015 film and oh boy, this book explains and tells a lot about Where Krampus came from and it’s traditions in Austria and Germany. There’s even other folktales about other Krampus like devils which I found very interesting. I wanted to give this book five stars but didn’t since the If you’re expecting a novel or a quick read, you’re out of luck since this book goes further depth into the Christmas devil Krampus. I simply enjoyed this book since I’m so fascinated with Krampus ever since I saw the 2015 film and oh boy, this book explains and tells a lot about Where Krampus came from and it’s traditions in Austria and Germany. There’s even other folktales about other Krampus like devils which I found very interesting. I wanted to give this book five stars but didn’t since the only thing I wish the the author could’ve done to help readers were to add some footnotes to help us out on German and Austrian pronunciations since I was a little frustrated pronouncing the names of certain nicknames they had for Krampuses. Plus there are certain chapters in the book that the author rambles and I got lost which were the perfect place to add the footnotes to help readers on what’s going on. Other than that I enjoyed this book. A perfect read for Christmas to discover the whole meaning and celebration they have for Krampus.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    Dang where do I begin. This book is totally awesome. It tells you everything about the Krampus and then then some. Being the first time that someone puts out an information book about Krampus and on that does not get caught up in any Neo _Pagan craziness or New Agey stuff just makes m want to jump up and down for joy. I am going to apologize in advance because there is so much information and so many details that any summary I give will not do this justice. There are many German names that I wil Dang where do I begin. This book is totally awesome. It tells you everything about the Krampus and then then some. Being the first time that someone puts out an information book about Krampus and on that does not get caught up in any Neo _Pagan craziness or New Agey stuff just makes m want to jump up and down for joy. I am going to apologize in advance because there is so much information and so many details that any summary I give will not do this justice. There are many German names that I will not get straight and I have to hand it to Al he did a bang em up job going to all the towns in the Alpine area which is Krampus’ home and doing the research and reporting on the various Krampus events. Krampus is not that old. Having ben put on posts cards in the 1850”s his existence is perhaps one to two hundred years. Yet his roots stretch back been further. The Krampuslauf or Krampus run seems to have started perhaps around the turn of the century. In different towns like Gastein there are Krampuspasses or Krampus clubs. They require permits now days. But in the past performers wore wood carved masks that resemble in some cases African masks. Making the masques is an art and there is frowning down upon innovations that alter the Krampus outfit. Now according to lore the Krampus helps Saint Nicholas by punishing bad kids while he gives out the gifts. The book traces th evolution of Church plays and Saint Nicholasmarches into how they evolved into the Krampus run. The book also covers a variety of Krampus like creatures. The Krampus and by the ay that is not a character name but rather the name of his species sem to have origins that go back to the German Goddess Perchta. She I a goddess who would lead a procession during select days of the Christmas season. In her train are various creatues called Perchten, and they come in light and dark varieties. Perchta or Frau Holle had a dual role. Mostly associated with the spindle and house cleaning chores she would reward those who left food out for her and kept the house clean. Those who kept a messy house she would punish by eating, burning and what not. The wild Hunt with Odin leading a menagerie of people who dies early or whatever provides another source for he Krampus run. The Perchten also had their runs but the traditions which in many ways are similar. Oten borrow from each other.Borth developed separately on to tracks but ten t seems like they are looking for each other. What has been rendered in this review is a partial summary. Read the book for more details’ strongly advise it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I’m giving this a three star review because there were good and bad aspects to this book. First, the negative from a historian’s perspective. The research lacked proof. The author, Al Ridenour, mentioned book titles and noted anthropologist that he used as sources for his information, but failed to provided references or a bibliography for support. I realize that many of his sources were personal interviews and verbal confirmation of the traditions and myths, but considering he was writing a boo I’m giving this a three star review because there were good and bad aspects to this book. First, the negative from a historian’s perspective. The research lacked proof. The author, Al Ridenour, mentioned book titles and noted anthropologist that he used as sources for his information, but failed to provided references or a bibliography for support. I realize that many of his sources were personal interviews and verbal confirmation of the traditions and myths, but considering he was writing a book on history and folklore a little more time could have been spent on providing proper citations. At least some information was provided on the photographed subjects and photographers. The book itself seemed a little disorganized. I am surprised that so many spelling mistakes were missed during the final edit in the beginning and end of the book. The information provided lacked clarity at times, especially on if they were no-longer practiced traditions or still currently in practice. The sections of chapters jumped around and often made it difficult to follow when many mythological creatures or variations of creatures were discussed within a few paragraphs. The good thing about this book is that it delves into so many different cultural traditions about Krampus and related mythological creatures throughout Europe. It provides detail on the origins of many of these traditions and myths, how they relate to one another, and how they possibly evolved over time. It provides an abundance of information on costumes worn during traditional celebrations and the ritualized activities of the participants. It also frequently discusses the impact that various church denominations had on the evolution and continuation of traditions. This is great for anyone looking to learn more about Krampus or other Christmas related creatures and celebrations. Considering there is a lack of historical sources written in English on the subject, it helped to provide a better understanding of Krampus and similar subjects. This book is not an easy read, but for anyone looking to understand the subjects at hand it’s worth reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I first met Krampus quite accidentally one night while I was living in Graz, Austria and stumbled unexpectedly across a procession of strange devilish creatures that chased people, especially young women, with switches. This created a fascination that has not weakened over the decades. There's something fascinating about the darker Christmas traditions that we mostly miss here in the US, where our holiday traditions seldom get any darker than A Christmas Carol or, more recently, The Nightmare Bef I first met Krampus quite accidentally one night while I was living in Graz, Austria and stumbled unexpectedly across a procession of strange devilish creatures that chased people, especially young women, with switches. This created a fascination that has not weakened over the decades. There's something fascinating about the darker Christmas traditions that we mostly miss here in the US, where our holiday traditions seldom get any darker than A Christmas Carol or, more recently, The Nightmare Before Christmas. We don't have those dark traditions that seem so perfect for the winter months. Although this book sometimes feels like it could be better organized, I really like that it goes beyond the Krampus tradition to explore similar characters that roam (mainly) the German-speaking countries around the alps from early December through mid-January. It's richly illustrated and enjoyable to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    Review written for and published by Portland Book Review on December 16th: For a long time the Krampus was an unknown to most Americans who typically popularize the Christmas holiday with the safe and familiar jolly, fat, white-bearded man dressed in red who sneaks down chimneys in the middle of the night bearing gifts for good girls and boys. Though thinking back on things, it’s no wonder so many children are photographed screaming while sitting on Santa’s lap. After all, a stranger sneaking dow Review written for and published by Portland Book Review on December 16th: For a long time the Krampus was an unknown to most Americans who typically popularize the Christmas holiday with the safe and familiar jolly, fat, white-bearded man dressed in red who sneaks down chimneys in the middle of the night bearing gifts for good girls and boys. Though thinking back on things, it’s no wonder so many children are photographed screaming while sitting on Santa’s lap. After all, a stranger sneaking down your chimney in the middle of the night – even one with good intentions – is a terrifying prospect. In that sense, it was only a matter of time before we became more acquainted with the Krampus, or as many people see him, the anti-Santa. The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil tackles the Krampus mythology, addressing many misconceptions pushed forward by recent books and films (Brom’s Krampus the Yule Lord and the holiday film Krampus of 2015 are cited as primary examples). The book discusses origins, etymology of the word itself, connection to St. Nicholas (not the red-clad, bearded man we typically think of but the Catholic saint), and festivals and traditions around the world to scratch the surface of material contained within. This is basically your one stop shop for diving into the culture and mythos of the Krampus. The book contains plenty of half-page and full-page images, from photographs of recent festivals to copies of ink illustrations from old books. The pictures are fascinating to look at, and compliment the subject matter completely. There is also a color map in the front of the book that contains various towns and landmarks that are discussed within the book and a remarkably involved index in the back, for those looking for specific informational tidbits. The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil is a must-have for anyone interested in the Krampus mythology.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pyrz

    This book has a TON of information. If you need to know anything about the subject of German/Austrian krampus traditions around Christmastime, then you can save yourself a ton of research and just pick up this book. In addition to the wealth of information, the book is loaded with both historical and contemporary pictures. Why only two stars then? Because this book reads like a 300-page encyclopedia entry. It is beyond dry and, while informative, is not entertaining in the least. I knew I was in This book has a TON of information. If you need to know anything about the subject of German/Austrian krampus traditions around Christmastime, then you can save yourself a ton of research and just pick up this book. In addition to the wealth of information, the book is loaded with both historical and contemporary pictures. Why only two stars then? Because this book reads like a 300-page encyclopedia entry. It is beyond dry and, while informative, is not entertaining in the least. I knew I was in trouble when, only 38% through, I pulled up the table of contents hoping to see that the last 1/3 of the book was made up of index, notes, bibliography, etc (spoiler alert - it isn't). If you are a krampus fanatic, or looking to do some in-depth research on the subject, I would bet you could do no better than this book - it really is a fantastic wealth of information. If you have a casual interest in the subject, piqued maybe from an Anthony Bourdain holiday special from a few years ago (like me) and you are looking for an entertaining history to read - this isn't it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Such and informative book. Most everything you and I know about Krampus is Americanized horror confection. Take several bit and pieces of this and that and generalize it; up the horror to eleven and you have the American Krampus we've all been introduced to. Which like most things introduced to the States it gets warped and marred and made our own. Evidently Krampus can be any of several devil-like creatures. They are usually preceded by Saint Nicholas. And depending on the region or town, can al Such and informative book. Most everything you and I know about Krampus is Americanized horror confection. Take several bit and pieces of this and that and generalize it; up the horror to eleven and you have the American Krampus we've all been introduced to. Which like most things introduced to the States it gets warped and marred and made our own. Evidently Krampus can be any of several devil-like creatures. They are usually preceded by Saint Nicholas. And depending on the region or town, can also be accompanied by an Angel and several other kinds of demon-like creatures. Home visits and Krampus runs are popular in parts of Austria and they sound like something interesting to behold. And fun to participate in. The book is very informative. Overwhelmingly so at times. For me, it was overload. I would really like to see this turned into a television show on say History channel. Recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin Cataldi

    While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, I loved it nonetheless. It might be too dense or deep for the light reader but I personally found it fascinating. Author, Al Ridenour not only discusses the legend and customs of Krampus but spends a lot of time going into to other dark folkloric holiday traditions of Austria and Europe. It really helps put Krampus in perspective knowing his origins and the other dark beasties and witches that come with him. There are also tons of high quality photos o While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, I loved it nonetheless. It might be too dense or deep for the light reader but I personally found it fascinating. Author, Al Ridenour not only discusses the legend and customs of Krampus but spends a lot of time going into to other dark folkloric holiday traditions of Austria and Europe. It really helps put Krampus in perspective knowing his origins and the other dark beasties and witches that come with him. There are also tons of high quality photos of masks, folk customs, vintage drawings and more that enhance the author's message. a fascinating read around the holidays and a must for anyone who ever wanted to unearth some bizarre and different customs than our own!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    I cannot overstate how essential and enlightening this book was for me. As a lifelong Christmas and horror aficionado, I've always been fascinated by the "Christmas Evil" concept that seems to unite the two extremes- why is Christmas so (subliminally nowadays) associated with ghost stories, the supernatural, and a loosening of the laws of the universe? Al Ridenour's research on Krampus and other liminal good/evil figures associated with the Christmas season across Europe puts the whole thing in I cannot overstate how essential and enlightening this book was for me. As a lifelong Christmas and horror aficionado, I've always been fascinated by the "Christmas Evil" concept that seems to unite the two extremes- why is Christmas so (subliminally nowadays) associated with ghost stories, the supernatural, and a loosening of the laws of the universe? Al Ridenour's research on Krampus and other liminal good/evil figures associated with the Christmas season across Europe puts the whole thing in perspective, drawing up both a cosmology of these monstrous figures and asserting sociological theories for their prevalence.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cat Tutt

    A wonderful in depth description of the history and lore of the Krampus and other characters that appear in folklore related to Christmas and surrounding holidays. Educational, while being very entertaining with some great photos! *5 Stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    GoodlyWitch

    Surprisingly, this book took me almost a year to finish, not only because of its seasonality, but also because at times it can be a tad bit too detailed and academic. Having read several books on the origins of the Christmas tree and the American Santa Claus, I approached this book wanting to know about the Krampus figure that currently captivates Christmas-themed tv shows and horror movies. I got what I asked for and more with this book. The large amount of photographs and illustrations include Surprisingly, this book took me almost a year to finish, not only because of its seasonality, but also because at times it can be a tad bit too detailed and academic. Having read several books on the origins of the Christmas tree and the American Santa Claus, I approached this book wanting to know about the Krampus figure that currently captivates Christmas-themed tv shows and horror movies. I got what I asked for and more with this book. The large amount of photographs and illustrations included in the book are fascinating, beautifully rendered, and labeled clearly set in the appropriate sections. The foreign words are defined and explained. The conclusions drawn at the end are well-thought out, even if they are somewhat contradictory to earlier points. While I enjoyed the book, sometimes it was a little confusing and hard to follow. Thus I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Doorn

    Read Full review at http://mindfunda.com/krampus/ There is a wealth of information in The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas. Ridenour succeeds in weaving together the strands of an enormous database of information to create a fascinating and enjoyable reading experience. I was impressed with his depth of research and his ability to organize it into a conversational flow. I enjoyed reading about his travels through Europe to experience the Krampuslaufen in various regions of Austria, Germany and Read Full review at http://mindfunda.com/krampus/ There is a wealth of information in The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas. Ridenour succeeds in weaving together the strands of an enormous database of information to create a fascinating and enjoyable reading experience. I was impressed with his depth of research and his ability to organize it into a conversational flow. I enjoyed reading about his travels through Europe to experience the Krampuslaufen in various regions of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. This is not a book of “library research” but an all-in endeavor during which he consulted Krampuslauf participants and the regional folk to obtain first-hand knowledge and perspective on these traditions. The book is generously illustrated with beautiful professional photographs of costumes, masks and events. It includes historical reproductions of old prints and woodcuts, and the earliest photograph of a Krampus Pass. I was impressed with the quality of paper and vibrant color. Rich in visual imagery and cultural history, this book is sumptuous reading for anyone interested in-depth psychology, mythology, history, shamanism and religion, and more. I recommend it whole-heartedly.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Leber

    I thought I knew all about Krampus. Al has shown me that there is so much more. I found this a great look into the Krampus and related folklore. I’m looking forward to delving deeper and what comes next from Mr. Ridenour.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    This was a great read! Ridenour starts with the modern Krampus revival in America and plunges further and further back in time, establishing a baseline "real" Krampus tradition alive to this day in Austria, then exploring the wider religious and folkloric milieu that has for centuries incubated myriad ghouls, witches, and other beasties. Neither pop culture nor overly academic, the book satisfies your curiosity about the Krampus while also opening up an entire world of alpine winter traditions. This was a great read! Ridenour starts with the modern Krampus revival in America and plunges further and further back in time, establishing a baseline "real" Krampus tradition alive to this day in Austria, then exploring the wider religious and folkloric milieu that has for centuries incubated myriad ghouls, witches, and other beasties. Neither pop culture nor overly academic, the book satisfies your curiosity about the Krampus while also opening up an entire world of alpine winter traditions. Throughout, Ridenour explores the relationship between serious ritual and just plain fun, softly posing more questions about how we approach traditional stories and superstitions. I'm a Feral House fan so I ordered the book sight unseen - it was a nice surprise to find it full of illuminating photos and illustrations of costumes and myths. Quality printing makes it good enough to be a coffee-table book and therefore great holiday party conversation starter!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tansy Foor

    Let me start off by saying, "If I wanted to read a research paper, I would have stayed in school; however, this book was picked for bookclub and I'm always up for a challenge." Now, the author, Al Ridenour does a wonderful job outlining the different histories of the Krampus and you can really tell the amount of work and passion he put into the book. For that, I applaud you. I recommend the book to those who are REALLY into the Krampus, Christmas history or "things that go bump in the night" in ge Let me start off by saying, "If I wanted to read a research paper, I would have stayed in school; however, this book was picked for bookclub and I'm always up for a challenge." Now, the author, Al Ridenour does a wonderful job outlining the different histories of the Krampus and you can really tell the amount of work and passion he put into the book. For that, I applaud you. I recommend the book to those who are REALLY into the Krampus, Christmas history or "things that go bump in the night" in general.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    It’s hard for me to review this book. If you are looking for an incredibly comprehensive history of the Krampus tradition town by town, this is a 5 star book. For someone kind of interested in the Krampus tradition, this is will get really boring to read. It is very detailed and well researched, and has great photographs. However, it reads more like a textbook and will probably only appeal to a small audience.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cicely

    Just fabulous! As an avid fan of folklore and paganism, I just eat this stuff up. Though I lived in Austria for many years I was not aware of all of the details of the Krampus and Perchten festivals all over mostly Western Austria and that general region. A must read for those who are interested in such things.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thaydra

    Interesting book on the darker aspects of some winter folklore. Be forewarned that much of this book is not really on the Krampus itself, though. Still, if you are fond of the Krampus, I would recommend reading this.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This is EVERYTHING you will EVER need to know about Santa's dark special friend in all his flavors and guises and adjacents. You'll also be qualified to call BS on most everything Krampu-centric that issues from Hollywoodland. Cheers. This is EVERYTHING you will EVER need to know about Santa's dark special friend in all his flavors and guises and adjacents. You'll also be qualified to call BS on most everything Krampu-centric that issues from Hollywoodland. Cheers.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kimi

    loved the pictures. the text got a little boring toward the end tho.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bernd

    Everyone who is interested in the Krampus cult should read that book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cadi Weaver

    Engrossing subject matter and creepy-ass pictures! Creatively written, though a bit difficult to follow. I definitely recommend if you like ghost stories, horror and history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matthew McAlister

    Lots of fascinating information, but a bit like reading a series of interconnected Wikipedia articles.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aljan

    I wanted to love this book. It’s full of great information and history. Beautiful photos. It’s interesting and yet, it manages to be kind of boring.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This was a fun and informative counterpoint to the sanitized Hallmark version of Christmas that we all know.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Allen

    This book is absolutely amazing! The images in the book are stunning and breathtaking! Such rich history is contained within this book. I knew very little of the Krampus, it’s origins, and history. Hence my search for an authoritative book on the topic, which is exactly what this book is! I researched a few books and kept coming back to this one because every review said how authoritative it is. I was moderately worried that with such an authoritative book, it would be all knowledge and no fun; This book is absolutely amazing! The images in the book are stunning and breathtaking! Such rich history is contained within this book. I knew very little of the Krampus, it’s origins, and history. Hence my search for an authoritative book on the topic, which is exactly what this book is! I researched a few books and kept coming back to this one because every review said how authoritative it is. I was moderately worried that with such an authoritative book, it would be all knowledge and no fun; dry in other words. That is so far from the truth! All of the rich knowledge is presented in a conversational way. Then tie in all the beautiful pictures. Of course you have all of the German language, but that’s part of the history—just use Google Translate to help you say them—but otherwise the book is rendered in laymen’s terms. I feel like I was sitting by a fire with Al Ridenour, drinking coffee with Christmas music playing the background learning all of this information. If you are remotely interested in learning the history of the Krampus then you should read this book! It will definitely be a re-read for me in the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wyrd Witch

    Like many Americans, I first discovered the figure of Krampus when I first entered the internet. Those strange Christmas postcards featuring a joyful devil gleefully delivering Children into Hell captured my interest. It helped that I was leaving elementary school, and the idea of such terrible horrors during the Christmas season hit me at just the right age to dream of it. After all, what kid wouldn’t have enjoyed this terrible possibility lurking behind Santa’s warm smiles? Now that I’ve grown Like many Americans, I first discovered the figure of Krampus when I first entered the internet. Those strange Christmas postcards featuring a joyful devil gleefully delivering Children into Hell captured my interest. It helped that I was leaving elementary school, and the idea of such terrible horrors during the Christmas season hit me at just the right age to dream of it. After all, what kid wouldn’t have enjoyed this terrible possibility lurking behind Santa’s warm smiles? Now that I’ve grown and developed the interest into folklore and mythology that first showed up when I was twelve, I knew that I had to get Al Ridenour’s extensive look into the phenomenon of the Krampus. This beautifully-designed and well-researched tome kept me far from disappointed. Read the rest of the review here.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

    Whilst an interesting book in many respects, it does need to carry a warning. For the most part this is NOT a book about the Krampus, but rather a book about Alpine Christmas folk traditions in which the Krampus is a feature of. It is quite a complex book in many respects and if you are looking to find out more about weird, wonderful and ancient Christmas traditions in the German speaking world then you can go far wrong. If you are looking for a book just on the Krampus, this book perhaps isn’t for Whilst an interesting book in many respects, it does need to carry a warning. For the most part this is NOT a book about the Krampus, but rather a book about Alpine Christmas folk traditions in which the Krampus is a feature of. It is quite a complex book in many respects and if you are looking to find out more about weird, wonderful and ancient Christmas traditions in the German speaking world then you can go far wrong. If you are looking for a book just on the Krampus, this book perhaps isn’t for you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This was... a LOT. Super informative, full of folklore and traditions from every region, but I found it too dense to be enjoyable reading. I would have preferred something shorter and simpler, but I only had a casual interest in the subject, having heard of the creature and wanting to know a more. This is excellent for what it is, and highly recommended for those deeply interested in the Krampus.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    So much care has gone into this book. The photography is amazing and the information is excellent. The book brings together the history of Krampus and its regional variants and goes into detail about the origins of those differences, but only to what can be verified. There's no new age or neopagan insertions or agenda, just the history. There is some speculation but it's clearly noted as such and not presented as fact. An excellent book all round. So much care has gone into this book. The photography is amazing and the information is excellent. The book brings together the history of Krampus and its regional variants and goes into detail about the origins of those differences, but only to what can be verified. There's no new age or neopagan insertions or agenda, just the history. There is some speculation but it's clearly noted as such and not presented as fact. An excellent book all round.

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