CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 4, 2012

Two Christmas Traditions: A Christmas Pickle and the Belsnickle


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TWO CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS:

A CHRISTMAS PICKLE AND THE BELSNICKLE

The longer I live the more I learn about different holiday traditions. Two I recently learned about are the Christmas Pickle and the Belsnickle.

THE CHRISTMAS PICKLE

Many, many years ago, when my son Nolan was recently returned from a post-doctoral position in Munich, Germany, he and his wife Tammy presented my husband Monte and I with a German Christmas ornament, a pickle in a jar. I’ve had it out each holiday season since.

According to German tradition, the pickle brings good luck and was the last ornament placed on the tree. On Christmas morning the first child to find the gherkin was rewarded with an extra little gift by St. Nicholas. This tradition encouraged the children to appreciate all the ornaments on the tree, rather than hurrying to see what St. Nicholas had left for them.1

THE BELSNICKLE

IMG_1117Are you expecting a Christmas visit from the Belsnickle?

I’d never heard of such a being until I attended a presentation on Pennsylvania Christmas traditions at the Westmoreland County Historical Society (Greensburg, Pennsylvania).

When I arrived home I looked The Belsnickle up on the Internet:

Up until the second World War, if a Shenandoah Valley family was a member of the Lutheran or Reformed church, the children could expect a Christmas Eve visit from the Belsnickle. The practice might even go well beyond just one evening, running for nearly two weeks, starting a week before Christmas and continuing until New Year.

The Belsnickle was not Santa Claus! He was ugly and he frightened the children. He typically wore a costume made from stockings and burlap or paper bags. In many cases, Belsnicklers used charcoal to blacken their faces – the ultimate goal being to disguise yourself enough as to prevent identification.

The Belsnickle traveled from house to house brandishing his switches in the air. He would use these switches to whip naughty children. To good children the Belsnickle would hand out cakes or candies. These “gifts” were thrown upon the floor, but if a child were to try to recover them in the presence of the Belsnickler, the child would quickly receive a “whack” on the backside with a whip. (to continue reading click on http://www.appalachianhistory.net/2009/12/belsnickle-definitely-not-santa-claus.html )

~~~~~~~~~~~~

ADDITIONAL READING:

Christmas…A Time When Safety is Overlooked

Dear SANTA from COCHRAN

SANTA IS DEAD!

SOURCE

1http://www.historictrinity.org/christmastraditions.html

Picture  http://hermannfurniture.blogspot.com/2011/11/vintage-belsnickles-couple-of-years-ago.html

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4 Comments »

  1. [...] Two Christmas Traditions: A Christmas Pickle and the Belsnickle (carolyncholland.wordpress.com) [...]

    Pingback by Capture The Spirit Of The Season!! | knowtheworldfacts — December 4, 2012 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  2. [...] Two Christmas Traditions: A Christmas Pickle and the Belsnickle (carolyncholland.wordpress.com) [...]

    Pingback by View My Limited Edition Belsnickles for 2012 | doll envy — December 6, 2012 @ 8:09 am | Reply

  3. This week was the first time I’d heard of a Belsnickle and I have never heard of the Christmas Pickle. My colleague wrote an post about the Belsnickle and the Krampus (which I had never heard of either). ~Cher’ley

    Comment by Wranglers — December 10, 2012 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  4. [...] Two Christmas Traditions: A Christmas Pickle and the Belsnickle [...]

    Pingback by Christmas Traditions | OAP Life — December 11, 2012 @ 12:17 pm | Reply


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