Hans Von Trapp

Forgive me if this entry isn’t up to standard. My back hasn’t been stable since before Easter, and while I wanted to put up my Christmas tree when Mid got home tonight-both sides of my lower back decided to freeze instead. So instead being in happy Christmas mind space…I’m back to wondering how long I’m going to have to deal with this or if this is just how I’m going to be from here on out (my dad’s back isn’t good, so that’s unfortunately a possibility).


I have a confession to make, and one that I think will surprise my social circle.

I’m not really a fan of Krampus. I feel like Krampus has fallen to the curse of pop culture, that is, taking a cultural image and turning it all trendy and stripping whatever meaning out from the thing.

I don’t like sugar skulls for that reason either. I like actual sugar skulls, I have a handmade one, but I’m not a fan of sticking them on anything from rubber spatulas to toaster ovens.

But I do like researching what countries do for their holiday figures outside of Santa Clause (…please don’t ask me about my stance regarding Santa/Odin. I would be absolutely shocked to find out that there’s an actual historical connection there, outside of being in the right place and the right time, and I need something more substantial, read, academic, than a bunch of memes telling me that they’re totally the same person. Maybe they are, and I’ll be willing to change that stance-but again, not because Facebook really seems to want them to be).

Hans von Trapp (or Hans Trapp, or rarely Hans Trott) is the folkloric version of a real historical figure, Hans von Trotha. Von Trotha essentially went to war with the local church over who owned the land he built a castle on. Eventually the battle worked its way to Rome, where the Pope called him to the court to answer  to the Church’s accusations…to which he sent a letter that on one hand said that he was loyal to the faith-but that the Church and the Pope were corrupt.

He was perhaps predictably excommunicated.

However, this seems to have been primarily a political move, and in the end the worst that seems to have happened to him was a stint as diplomat and ambassador to France. When he died in 1503, he was cleared of all accusations.

Eventually, however, the feud with the church did damage to his reputation and his image evolved into a local boogeyman. Von Trotha would come to accompany Santa Clause in a manner similar to Krampus, in that he would steal bad children from their families or otherwise punish them. Oddly, though, Von Trotha would take on significance beyond Christmas-he also was accused of being a malevolent ghost, among other folkloric usages.

[There are more versions of the story available on the web, but they go in weird directions involving devils and lightning and all sorts of strangeness that seem to be modern interests added into an established historical figure.]

Hans von Trotha


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