December 20, 2008

The Kallikantzaroi: Underground Carbo-Loaders

While Christmas elves seem to have the potential for mischievousness, they’re not even in the same league as the Greek holiday goblins known as the Kallikantzaroi.

John Tomkinson (author of Haunted Greece) writes that the Kallikantzaroi live underground most of the year, carbo-loading on worms, snakes, and frogs. The legendary Greek goblins then hold their annual above-ground rampage between December 25th and January 6th. Tomkinson writes:
The Kallikantzaroi cause mischief, they intimidate people, urinate in flowerbeds, spoil food, tip things over and break furniture.”
Heck, forget the elves, even the Green Goblin looks like a wuss when matched up against those kind of Yule-tide shenanigans. In this Der Spiegel article, the director of the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre says that the Kallikantzaroi are still popular throughout Greece today, but people are not as frightened of them as they once were.

This is partially because there are ways to keep the Kallikantzaroi at bay— burning an old shoe is one technique. (Actually, they might work on more groups than the Kallikantzaroi.) In fact, Greek police might want to try that shoe trick out; tear gas and riot sticks certainly haven’t quelled the mayhem that’s been taking place in Greece over the last two weeks.

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