Quick Facts: Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus, Bullerklaas

tempx_weihnachtsb_rupr_g

by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt

The Northern German Knecht Ruprecht (Slave Ruprecht/Farmhand Ruprecht) also referred to as Bur Klaas or Bullerklas is “Santa’s little helper”, a grim assistant clad in a brown who isn’t shy about using his rod on naughty children. He is referred to as a “tamed devil”, utterly obedient to “Wiehnachtsmann” though not by personal choice.
The name Ruprecht possibly derives from the word “Hruodperaht” meaning “glouriously shining one” – a byname of Wotan. This might be another way of Christians having attempted to assert their dominance over the Pagan population by stealing one of their Gods and turning him into a Christian slave.
However, many scholars also believe the name comes from the word “Ruhperht”, “rough Perchte”. Perchta or Berchta herself is Frija-Holle, her companions are the Perchten, both male and female figures who remind a lot of the Southern Krampus.

Brom_Krampus il_340x270.401386545_s03d

Krampus in turn is just another Alpine figure who – on Saint Nicholas’ order – punishes bad children with the rod. On the contrary to Knecht Ruprecht he looks like a sterotypical “devil” complete with horns and cloven hoofs a big crooked nose.
In the North Ruprecht was often depicted from the side and some say this is indeed a hint at the “one-eyed God”, Wotan;

Knecht_Ruprecht_und_das_Christkindknecht-ruprecht04dae7916900fdddcc7600f6164069a3and taking into consideration the hooded cloak and hat, the rod that often looked like a (walking) staff or spear one can easily make this connection.

ruprecht wotan

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