Characters: Bernd, the professor, unnamed male character
Word count: 469
Summary: Bernd talks about his holiday traditions…
Author’s Note: Special thanks to Kat for pinking this for me.
Bernd was sitting in his comparative religion class, listening to the professor talk about Christmas customs and how they evolved from various pagan religious observances. A few of his fellow students volunteered to talk about their own traditions. Much to his surprise, Bernd found himself raising his hand and the professor called on him.
“My family is German,” he began, “in fact, I was born there…” He smiled at the undercurrent of “cools” from his classmates. “Anyways… When we celebrate, it’s a mix of Christian, pagan, and I guess German customs. Like we go out in the field and cut down our own tree and bring it home and decorate it. My father hangs a pickle on the tree and the first one to find it gets a small token gift and we have an advent calendar also full of token gifts. And we also go out in a bastardization of wassailing in the orchard and sing to the trees. When we’re done singing, my brother, who’s the youngest, hangs a Yule goat on a tree. And umm… we also celebrate Krampusnacht.” Bernd shook his head and smiled.
A guy sitting next to him raised his hand. “What’s Krampusnacht? I know what a Krampus is.”
“Bernd?” the professor said as he leaned back against his desk.
“Krampusnacht is just a celebration of the Krampus. We’d have a party and my uncle would dress up like a Krampus and scare us kids into being good until Christmas. And being good meant the usual along with ummm… not asking for expensive gifts and stuff like that.” He grinned. “The Krampus scared the crap out of me for years too,” he said ruefully and everyone laughed. “Now we know it’s just my uncle and not this scary demon, but it’s still fun. We still have a party and that plus the advent calendar always signaled Christmas for me. And that’s it.”
Another student raised their hand and asked if it was okay to talk about Hanukkah. The professor nodded and as they spoke about their holiday, Bernd sat there, thinking about their upcoming Krampusnacht party. It was in two days, which gave him plenty of time to study for his finals. Even better than that, he was going to dress up like a Krampus for the first time. Amber had helped him make his costume and he could not wait to show it off. His only regret was that all his little cousins were back in Germany, so he would not be able to scare them. The remainder of the class sped by, while thoughts of Krampusnacht danced in his head. When the bell rang, he got up and left, eager to tell Amber about some of things he had learned in class as well as discussing their plans for the party.