Oh Krampus!

December 5, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning fans of mythical villainous creatures. Today is Monday, December 5th. The holidays today are:


In Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, mythical (anthropomorphic) figure described as “half-goat, half-demon”, who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved – an Anti- Clause, of you will. Whereas Santa Clause rewards good children, Krampus punishes bad children. Regions in Austria feature similar figures and, more widely, Krampus is one of a number of Companions of Saint Nicholas in regions of Europe.
The origin of the Krampus figure is unclear; bit it has been theorized that it dates back to Pre-Christian Alpine traditions.  The Krampus figures persisted, and by the 17th century, Krampus had been incorporated into Christian winter celebrations by pairing Krampus with St Nicholas. Countries of the former Habsburg Empire have largely borrowed the tradition of Krampus accompanying St Nicholas on 5 December from Austria.
In the aftermath of the 1934 Austrian Civil War, the Krampus tradition was prohibited by the Dollfuss regime under the Fatherland’s Front (Vaterländische Front) and the Christian Social Party. In the 1950s, the government distributed pamphlets titled “Krampus Is an Evil Man”. Towards the end of the century, a popular resurgence of Krampus celebrations occurred and continues today. The Krampus tradition is being revived in Bavaria as well, along with a local artistic tradition of hand-carved wooden masks. There has been public debate in Austria in modern times about whether Krampus is appropriate for children.
Although Krampus appears in many variations, most share some common physical characteristics. He is hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long, pointed tongue lolls out, and he has fangs. Krampus carries chains, thought to symbolize the binding of the Devil by the Christian Church. He thrashes the chains for dramatic effect. The chains are sometimes accompanied with bells of various sizes. Of more pagan origins are the ruten, (bundles of birch branches that Krampus carries and with which he occasionally swats children). The ruten may have had significance in pre-Christian pagan initiation rites. The birch branches are replaced with a whip in some representations. Sometimes Krampus appears with a sack or a basket strapped to his back; this is to cart off evil children for drowning, eating, or transport to Hell. Some of the older versions make mention of naughty children being put in the bag and being taken. This part of the legend refers to the times that the Moors raided the European coasts, and as far as Iceland, to abduct the local people into slavery.
Modern day Krampus is celebrated with traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most Alpine towns. Krampus is featured on holiday greeting cards called Krampuskarten.

Repeal Day

The 18th Amendment, which was ratified on January 16, 1919, prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor throughout the United States. As with all legislation specifically designed as a means of “social engineering” or to control individual behavior, this law proved to be intensely unpopular and proved to be an abject failure. Prohibition led to widespread disrespect for the law. New York City alone had about 30,000 “speakeasies” by 1927. Eventually, many influential and respected citizens including John D. Rockefeller Jr. came forward and organized a counter movement. At long last, the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment which ended Prohibition and was ratified on this date in 1933.
Repeal Day is a celebration of much more than just the repeal of Prohibition. It celebrates the balance of power in the United States and the right of freedom of individual choice. Now, if we could only turn the clock back a few decades and remind our current leadership, on both sides of the aisle, what a failure ‘social engineering” really is; and restore that balance of power and individual rights once again.

Bathtub Party Day

Most of us shower at least once a day, but how many of us set aside a few extra minutes to take a relaxing hot bath? The folks at Wellcat suggest that we do just that.
In today’s fast-paced society, we often forgo the simple pleasures of life to make room for the myriad other things that clutter our daily existence. We pile more and more “essential” activities into our already too busy day and have no time for anything else.
A relaxing hot soak in a bathtub not only cleanses our bodies but our souls as well. To celebrate this holiday, fill your bathtub with hot water (bubbles are optional, but a plus), turn down the lights, light a few candles, pour a substantial portion of your favorite adult beverage into a glass, play some music that relaxes you, grab a good book (e-books not recommended) and soak in the tub until you become a “happy prune”. You will be surprised how much this brief respite from the hustle-bustle of life will improve your disposition.

Annual Day of the Ninja

A ninja was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations. Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.
In the same lighthearted vane as we celebrated Talk Like a Pirate DayTalk Like Shakespeare Day, and Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day, Annual Day of the Ninja encourages you to hone your ninja skills (except for the assassination part; tempting as that may be at times). To celebrate this holiday, be as stealthy as you can today. Try to sneak into a coworkers’ cubicle undetected and rearrange the contents of their ‘in’ and ‘out’ baskets. Surprise a family member as they are engrossed in a TV show. The possibilities are endless. Just be aware that once they become aware that today is Annual Day of the Ninja, they might use their own ninja skills to retaliate.
Author’s note: Don’t get too carried away with the whole ninja thing by dressing the part. In today’s paranoid society, no good can come from running around in public dressed as a ninja.

National Sacher Torte Day  

A Sacher Torte is a chocolate sponge cake cut into three layers and filled with apricot jam; the whole cake is iced with a velvety chocolate ganache. It is one of the most decadent pastries to come out of Vienna; a region noted for its rich pastries. It is also, one of the most famous, at least in Europe.  Because tortes are wider and shorter than cakes, the three layers are generally shorter than a two-layer “American” cake.
Sacher Torte was invented in 1832 by a 16-year-old apprentice pastry chef, Franz Sacher , who held his wits under duress. The Austrian State Chancellor, Prince Metternich, sent orders to the kitchen to create a new cake. The head chef was out sick, the cooks panicked. But, young Sacher rolled up his sleeves and got to work, creating an instant success.
Author’s Note: In some variations of the recipe, raspberry jam is often used instead of apricot jam.

International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development

World Soil Day  

On this date in

  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola (now Haiti).
  • 1766 – James Christie, founder of the famous auction house, held his first sale in London.
  • 1776 – In Williamsburg, VA, at the College of William and Mary, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized.
  • 1848 – President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming the fact that gold had been discovered in California.
  • 1876 – The Stillson wrench was patented by D.C. Stillson. The device was the first practical pipe wrench.
  • 1904 – The Russian fleet was destroyed by the Japanese at Port Arthur, during the Russo-Japanese War.
  • 1908 – At the University of Pittsburgh, numerals were first used on football uniforms worn by college football players.
  • 1913 – Britain outlawed the sending of arms to Ireland.
  • 1932 – German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa making it possible for him to travel to the United States.
  • 1933 – Prohibition came to an end when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1934 – The Soviet Union executed 66 people charged with plotting against Joseph Stalin’s government.
  • 1935 – In Montebello, CA, the first commercial hydroponics operation was established.
  • 1936 – The Soviet Union adopted a new Constitution under a Supreme Council.
  • 1945 – The so-called “Lost Squadron” disappeared. The five U.S. Navy Avenger bombers carrying 14 Navy flyers began a training mission at the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station. They were never seen or heard from again.
  • 1951 – The first push button-controlled garage opened in Washington, DC.
  • 1955 – The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO.
  • 1956 – British and French forces began a withdrawal from Egypt during the Suez War.
  • 1958 – Britain’s first motorway (the American equivalent of a freeway), the Preston bypass, was opened by Prime Minister Macmillan.
  • 1962 – The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to cooperate in the peaceful uses of outer space.
  • 1971 – The Soviet Union, at United Nations Security Council, vetoed a resolution calling for a cease-fire in hostilities between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
  • 1976 – Jacques Chirac re-founded the Gaullist party as the RPR (Rassemblement pour la Republique).
  • 1977 – Egypt broke diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen due to peaceful relations with Israel.
  • 1978 – The American space probe Pioneer Venus I, orbiting Venus, began beaming back its first information and picture of the planet.
  • 1979 – Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church due to her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
  • 1983 – In west Beirut, Lebanon, more than a dozen people were killed when a car bomb destroyed a nine-story apartment building.
  • 1983 – The video arcade game “NFL Football” was unveiled in Chicago. It was the first video arcade game to be licensed by the National Football League.
  • 1984 – Iran’s official news agency quoted the hijackers of a Kuwaiti jetliner parked at Tehran airport as saying they would blow up the plane unless Kuwait released 14 imprisoned extremists.
  • 1986 – The Soviet Union said it would continue to abide by the SALT II treaty limits on nuclear weapons. This was despite the decision by the United States to exceed them.
  • 1988 – Jim Bakker and former aide Richard Dortch were indicted by a federal grand jury in North Carolina on fraud and conspiracy charges.
  • 1989 – Israeli soldiers killed five heavily armed Arab guerrillas who crossed the border from Egypt. The guerrillas were allegedly going to launch a terrorist attack commemorating the anniversary of the Palestinian uprising.
  • 1989 – East Germany’s former leaders were placed under house arrest.
  • 1992 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin kept the power to appoint Cabinet ministers, defeating a constitutional amendment that would have put his team of reformers under the control of Russia’s Congress.
  • 1998 – James P. Hoffa became the head of the Teamsters union, 23 years after his father was the head. His father disappeared and was presumed dead.
  • 2001 – In Germany, Afghan leaders signed a pact to create a temporary administration for post-Taliban Afghanistan. Two women were included in the cabinet structure.

Noteworthy Birthdays

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