Christmas Traditions In Alsace – Christmas Maiden,Hans Trapp, Ruprecht

History of Gift GiversIn Alsace he (sic the Christmas gift-giver) is represented by a young maiden dressed in white, with hair of lamb’s wool hanging down upon her shoulders, and her face whitened with flour, while on her head she wears a crown of gilt paper set round with burning tapers.

In one hand she holds a silver bell, in the other a basket full of sweetmeats. She is the messenger of joy to all children, but that joy is usually changed into terror on the appearance of Hans Trapp, the Alsacian Ruprecht.

The bugbear, on entering, demands in a hoarse voice which of the children have not been obedient, walking up toward them in a threatening manner, while they, trembling and crying, seek to hide themselves as best they may from the impending storm.

But the Christchild intercedes for them, and, upon their promising to become better in the fixture, leads them up to the brilliantly illuminated Christmas-tree loaded with presents, which soon make them oblivious of the frightful Hans Trapp.

Source:Harper’s Magazine 1873


Old Fashioned Holidays | Christmas Indexes

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