→ Is He Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Pelznickel?
Billy Bob Thornton as Bad Santa
Santa Klaus is exhausted. Perhaps it’s time for him to share the burden and ask for some help. Christmas isn’t going away and there are plenty of interesting alternatives waiting in the cultural shadows.
The deeper you delve into the history of Christmas figures like Santa Klaus, Belsnickel, Krampus, Frau Perchta, La Befana, Black Peter, Kris Kringle, Kallikantzaros , Farmhand Rupert, Pere Fouettard and St. Nicholas the more you realize how much broader the spectrum of folk traditions was, and still is in some places. The rise of Santa Klaus as a near monopoly in the minds of most modern Americans is a relatively recent development, and seems to have led to a kind of dumbing down of the Christmas spirit into a one dimensional experience, with the darker, yet deeply meaningful aspects of the season nearly banished from the collective consciousness.
It does not have to be this way.
As a nation whose traditions have always been an admixture transplanted from other countries it is ridiculous that the broad range of figures that have evolved over time should be marginalized by one dominating man in a red suit! I love Santa Klaus and hold no ill will towards him but I do believe the time has come for a radical revival and re-dissemination of all of the folk figures of the Christmas season.
→ “Days of the Belsnickel” Lunch Tour Pennsylvania at the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Start with a video, then take a guided tour through the village, decked out Pennsylvania ...
Santa Claus, the pleasant bearded elf dressed in red (in case you thought I was referring to some other Santa Claus), was not predestined to be a worldwide Christmas icon ...
The sound is not that great but this clip is very informative and well worth watching if you want to learn more about the Pennsylvania Dutch tradtion of Der Belsnickel.
I came across this Belsnickel story on the Appalachian Lifestyles blog by Matthew Burns. He was gracious enough to grant me permission to repost it here. Enjoy.
Christmastime in the Land ...
Yes! Kick Santa to the curb and turn Belsknickel loose upon the land.
For more 'Ask A PA Dutchman' episodes and Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch language videos check out Doulgas Madenford's YouTube channel.
In the Belsnickel's world, Christmas shouldn't be so enjoyable for the naughty kids. He comes at night, dressed in dirty furs, face blackened with charcoal. He has one purpose: To ...
→ Homestead Recreating 18th Century Christmas - Pottstown Post
Watch out kids because Belsnickel's going to show up!
12/7: A Homestead Christmas 12-4pm
Admission Adult (13+) $6.00, Child (5-12) $4.00. FDBH members free, ...
Oh, do you know that ugly, that nasty man?
Wow! Can you call that fellow a human being?
Yes, that he is a human, may be believed by whomever wants to,
→ ‘Yes Helen, there is a Belsnickel’.
→ This and That — The history of Santa Claus - Delphos Herald
Belsnickel came from Pelz Nichol, stemming from St. Nicholas and the December 6th gift giving holiday. Kris Kringle ...
→ Pennsylvania Folkways: The Belsnickel brings light and darkness - Reading Eagle
After having read many articles about Belsnickel, I find that one the most interesting aspects about the tradition is ...
→ Belsnickle Santa of yesteryear was not so jolly - The Herald-Dispatch
More details here on the legendary Belsnickel. I do take issue with the following...
Needless to say the first Belsnickle ...
→ Friends of Hopewell Furnace celebrate “Bill of Rights Day" - Berks Mont News
The Friends of Hopewell Furnace invite the public to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Bill of ...
→ Old-fashioned Christmas in Lehigh County offers look at Pennsylvania German life in 1842 - lehighvalleylive.com
Saturday, December 6: 1:00 pm– 6:00 pm, last tour 5:15: A Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas
Travel back ...
In my mind's eye, the fanciful events depicted in Der Belsnickel Suite portray two special days on a family farm in a rustic and sturdy home built from field stone. ...
Landis Valley Museum “Days of the Belsnickel” Lunch Tour
Meet Belsnickel, the Counter Claus
VIDEO | A living history presentation on the PA Dutch tradition of the Der Belsnickel
Christmastime in the Land of the Belsnickel by Matthew Burns
VIDEO| Origin of the “Belsnickel” In Under A Minute
VIDEO | Ask A PA Dutchman: The Belsnickel
Belsnickel: A slightly terrifying Pennsylvania Dutch tradition
Birdsboro’s Daniel Boone Homestead Recreating 18th Century Christmas
Der Belsnickel by Henry Harbaugh
‘Yes Helen, there is a Belsnickel’
The history of Santa Claus with reference to Belsnickel and Kris Kringle
Pennsylvania Folkways: The Belsnickel brings light and darkness
Belsnickle Santa of yesteryear was not so jolly
Friends of Hopewell Furnace celebrate “Bill of Rights Day”
Troxell-Steckel Farm Museum old-fashioned Christmas offers look at Pennsylvania German life in 1842
VIDEO: What is a Belsnickel?
Der Belsnickel Suite, a symphonic work by Dave Kline performed by the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra