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Bad Santas: and Other Creepy Christmas Characters
by Paul Hawkins
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SOCIAL & CULTURAL HISTORY. A gleefully dark and well-researched exploration of the history and customs of European Yuletide folklore. How did St Nicholas save children from cannibalism? Who were the Yule Lads and why would they steal your sausages? Why was the Alpine Father Christmas accompanied by a demonic figure called the Krampus who bundled children into sacks and dragged them off to Hell? And why do Spanish nativity scenes often feature a defecating peasant? Over the course of the 20th Century, a universal image developed around the world of Santa Claus as a kindly Christmas visitor but, prior to that, each country, town and community would have Christmas visitors of their own - sometimes human, sometimes animal, sometimes something else entirely - with their own curious set of mythology and customs. The Finns were visited by a pagan goat named Joulupukki that was said to eat anyone who misbehaved.
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