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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 07/26/12

Thursday, July 26, 2012

KRAMPUS, SANTA'S EVIL HELPER (AT LEAST IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD)!




    Krampus is not a muscle contraction that causes unpleasant pain, but Krampus does apparently inflict painful experiences or death to children who do not behave. This mythical creature has been a tool people have used to promote scare tactics in children. Krampus is in cahoots with Santa Claus. In some parts of the world, Santa has plural helpers called Krampi.





    Krampus is depicted as an evil demon that has a long tail, horns, a long tongue, hooves, and carries a black bag or basket. As a child, I never heard of Krampus. Not until I picked up a random National Geographic magazine at the doctor's office had I ever heard of Krampus. This creature originated in Austria and is still very popular in Germany. Krampus is also related to fertility.






    The Americanized Santa Claus does not have these helpers. In other parts of the world, Santa's group of Krampi would be considered similar to American Santa's elves, except for the obvious differences that elves are merry, very small, and gleefully make toys, while Krampi are large and terrifying. Usually, the Americanized helper elves will secretly watch children throughout the year and report good and bad behavior back to Santa. These behavior reports help Santa decide whether or not to give children gifts or not. Spying elves seem creepy.







    Compared to what Krampi do, however, elves don't score as high on the creep-o-meter. Krampi warn and punish bad children (Wikipedia, 2010). They have the authority, per St. Nicolas, to take presents away from naughty children or, if they have misbehaved badly enough, Krampus will hurt them physically, lock them in chains, and stuff them in his black sack or basket and take them away. The children the Krampi determine are very bad will be whisked off for a not-so-special holiday in a dark, scary forest where they will live forever, tortured by the Krampi of the dark forest or possibly, be killed.






    Krampus pre-dates Christianity. He is still feared by some Austrians today and is believed to be an ancient god (Seven Trees, 2008). Other pagan things have been incorporated into Christian holidays, and so has Krampus in his correlation with St. Nicholas. Remember all the while we thought those hooves were from Santa's cute, flying reindeer? It seems we were wrong! Those hooves are from the feet of the Krampi who travel with Santa.






    So parents, from now on if the threat of receiving coal on Christmas no longer holds any fear, you may want to consider sharing the story of the demonic Krampus with your disobedient child. For extra effect, don't forget the furry costume complete with horns, long tongue, chains, black sack, and scary demon mask while you lurk outside the window some night to prove to your child that Krampi do, in fact, exist. Or you might try not being sadistic. Besides, in places where Krampus is still "celebrated", children have taken to dressing in black rags and chains, running through streets and terrorizing people. Some of them seem to have overcome their fear of the creature and have taken back the Yuletide and the night. The true origins of Christmas are pagan; this is one example of that fact.

NO BAKE COOKIE AND CREAM BARS!

   This recipe for some chocolatey, chewy bars comes from www.picky-palate.com.  It's like a rice crispy treat instead of rice crispies you are going to be using oreo's (nothing better than oreos and milk). Enjoy making a couple batches of these chocolate goo bars.




Oh how I love a treat that can be whipped up in about 15 minutes. My boys and their buddies couldn’t get enough of these Chewy Oreo Bars we had as an after school snack this week. Sometimes my spontaneous recipe creations turn out to be the most fun, lol!
Yes you use an entire package of Oreo Cookies, but what you get in return is a marshmallow-y Oreo treat that is worth every bite :)
Surprise the kids (and yourself) with this one, they’ll be all smiles, Enjoy!






3 whole ingredients. I know, tricky :)






Break out your Cookies!






Place them all in the food processor or blender and mix until ground.






Like so.






Melt the butter and marshmallows into a large bowl until puffed.






You’ll get a little something like this :)






Working quickly, pour in your ground cookies.






Mix, mix and mix :)






You’ll get a gooey mess….that’s delish!






Transfer to an 8×8 inch baking pan and let set for about 10 minutes.






Cut into squares and indulge :)




No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars


One 16 oz package of Oreo
5 cups Large Marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter


1. Place Oreos in food processor and pulse until ground. Melt marshmallows and butter in microwave until puffed, about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Remove and pour in ground Oreo Cookies. Stir to combine then transfer to a foil lined 8×8 inch baking pan. Let set up for 10 minutes. Remove bars out of pan with edges of foil and cut into squares.
Makes 9 large bars

NACHI FIRE FESTIVAL FROM JAPAN!!




    The Nachi Fire Festival is one of Japan's cultural gems. Listed as an intangible cultural asset the festival has a history of more than 1500 years and is one of the most spectacular festivals of the summer. Held on July 14th each year, the Nachi no Hi Matsuri or Nachi Ogi Matsuri (Fan Festival) is a traditional fire festival involving ritual offerings, music and dance. The festival is held in a remote area of the Yoshino-Kumano National Park on the Kii Peninsula. The shrines where the Nachi Fire Festival takes place are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine and the Hiryu shrine, which is located at the base of the massive Nachi waterfall, which with a 133 meter (about 436 feet) drop is the highest waterfall in Japan.






    The festival involves 12 (portable) mikoshi shrines, each decorated with mirrors and gold, and 12 massive ceremonial torches. Carried from Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine down the old Kumano road to the Hiryu shrine, they are then purified by fire and water. The festival is fantastic, you can feel the spray from the waterfall and you can feel the






heat on your face from the torches - it is usually prudent to keep a safe distance as it is isn't unusual for the fire bearers to lose control and singe a few spectators. Known as the Nachi-no-Hi-Matsuri or Nachi-Ogi-Matsuri (Fan Festival), the event begins on the morning of 14 July every year with ritual Shinto offerings, music and dance. In the afternoon the 12 sacred mikoshi, beautifully decorated with gold and mirrors, are carried along with 12 ceremonial torches towards the Hiryu shrine, located near Nachi waterfall.






    White-robe priests carry 12 enormous torches of cypress wood. These purify the path for the unique mikoshi of Nachi. Usually mikoshi (portable shrines) look like palanquins, but these are 10m (30ft) tall vermilion panels decorated with mirrors and fans (this is also known as Ogi Matsuri, the 'Fan Festival'). In the background are the vermilion pillars of the shrine, and the 133m (436ft) waterfall which first attracted Emperor Jimmu to worship here at the dawn of Japanese civilisation.






    Following a sacred ritual in the shrine itself, the mikoshi are carried to the stone steps just under the waterfall, where the torches are lit and the torch-carriers purify them by walking up and down the steps in circles. The purification by fire and smoke is completed by water, in the form of the mist spraying from above. The Kumano mountains have been revered as the site of great mystical power for more than 1000 years. A Buddhist paradise was said to be hidden among the peaks, to be reached in life by the devout worshipper who undertook a pilgrimage to the mountains and prayed at the shrines.