Badvent Calendar Day 20


There have already been plenty of mentions of Krampus on this series of seasonal posts. But have you heard of Frau Perchta? This old crone, dressed in rags and sporting a beaky iron nose, was to slatternly hausfraus in the Alpine regions of Germany and Austria what Krampus was to naughty children: a form of discipline by means of supernatural terror. Despite her own scruffy appearance, she was most particular about the tidiness of other women’s homes, and woe betide anyone who failed to get their flax spun by Twelfth Night:

‘ “…for when the Christmas season was over, it would be time to set up the big upright loom, at which time you must have enough thread to warp it and start your weaving.” And what’s Frau Perchta’s punishment for those lazy ladies who haven’t finished all their weaving? “In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, there were numerous tales of Frau Perchta trampling and even settling fire to the half-spun fibers.” And if should you really irritate her? Like, say, not only is your flax not spun, but your house is a total mess (this domestic goddess/witch hates a messy house) and you’ve even failed to leave out a traditional bowl of porridge for her? Well, then her rampaging will extend far beyond your slovenly spinning room. She’ll do nothing less than steal into your bedroom, disembowel you and replace your guts with rocks and straw.’

From Frau Perchta, Terrifying Christmas Witch,

Also known as Holle, she’s associated with the Wild Hunt. Find out more here.

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