Living Up Shortest Day, Longest Night at Thirsty Pagan Solstice Celebration
Party featured a bonfire, dark beer, and even Krampuses.
SUPERIOR, Wis.- It’s the shortest day of the year, but that didn’t stop some in Superior from celebrating before the days get longer.
“Getting together on a cold, dark winter’s night,” said Thirsty Pagan co-owner Steve Knauss.
This is one night where the party at Thirsty Pagan is outside the Thirsty Pagan.
“What we’re doing is we’re burning the yule log, this is the solstice, it’s another changing of the seasons. We’ve got some friends out and we’re drinking some really good dark beer,” Knauss said.
It’s the shortest day followed by the longest night. In history, Norsemen would light bonfires, tell stories, and drink lots of ale.
“Least sunlight all day long, and you need to get something going to get your body up and moving,” said Knauss.
“If you just kinda hang around you’re gonna hibernate all the time and that’s not good for anybody.”
While everyone was having a good time, some other…hairier pagans dropped in.
“So Krampus is a part of Germanic paganism,” Tyrone Schenk said.
Demonic-looking creatures rattling chains and jingling bells livened up the party.
“The ancient Pagans didn’t enjoy winter,” said Schenk, President of Minnesota Krampus. “It’s cold, it’s dark, and there are scary things in the dark.”
“And when you have to scare away that, then all of a sudden we have more light, the crops grow, and everything like that.”
Krampus is a cohort of St. Nicholas in the Alpine culture of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and South Germany.
In lore, he takes care of the kids on the naughty list for Santa.
“The tradition of St. Nicholas and his Krampus. As St. Nick gives presents to good girls and boys, Krampus punishes the naughty ones,” Schenk said.
While they’re a bit creepy, as long as you’ve been good, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
“Essentially the story of Krampus is to be a better person everyday,” said Schenk. “And that we all need to be better people whether we’re children ages 2 or children ages 92. ”
After Krampus scared away the bad spirits, nothing but good cheer is in store this winter.
“Find a way to hang in there one more day, one more year, one more week, whatever,” Steve Knauss said.
“You gotta embrace the season!”