Satan or Santa?

A red figure who knows if you're naughty or nice. He seems to have supernatural powers and he's not a revered figure in Christianity. Santa or Satan? I've have fun with this typo potential for years: "Satan's Wish List" "The Fallen Angel, Santa." "Kids? Do you want me to take you to see Satan?" Anyways. It's more than a typo. In Austria, St. Nick is followed around by figures dressed in devil masks. While Santa dishes out candies and well wishes, the devil swap people's backsides.

This from The Beer Hunter:
Grotesquely masked as monsters and devils, and accompanied by the red-robed figure of St Nicholas (otherwise known as Santa Claus), a troupe of children were causing a commotion in the huge, arched, beer halls of the Augustiner brewery - not the famous one in Munich, Germany, but the very imposing namesake in the city of Salzburg, Austria. Both of these breweries were founded by Augustine abbeys, and the one in Austria is still part-owned by monks, albeit of the Benedictine order.

The presence of the masked children was intended to frighten away any evil spirits before Christmas. Like many "Christian" rituals, this Austrian custom surely has pagan origins.

One "devil" cosied up to Augustiner's head brewer Christian Spatzenegger, a hefty man in the midst of enjoying a half litre of his sweetly malty Bock. He smiled indulgently, gave the child a small donation, and was rewarded with sweets and nuts.

Merry Christmas!


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