Pennsylvania Folkways: The Belsnickel brings light and darkness

 

→ 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 the visual variety of the costume itself. Although there is a general similarity between all of them, there is also much variation in the details. When compared to the unwavering and stale representations of Santa Klaus, this looseness of interpretation – which provides some room for creativity and individuality – is very refreshing, as is the exciting combination of terror and delight meant to be evoked by a visit from Belsnickel.

If you’d like to meet the Belsnickel in person, come to Christmas on the Farm at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, featuring the best of local holiday customs, on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is located at 22 Luckenbill Road in Maxatawny Township, on the edge of the Kutztown University campus.

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