New Year Pigs

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Hungarian for “Happy New Year.” As if that’s the hardest thing to translate…

You’re gonna see a lot of pigs on the New Year cards. They’ll stop seeming weird after the first twenty or so, I promise. There’s a lot of clover and mushrooms, too. (Not to be confused with Christmas mushrooms, which are another thing altogether and ENTIRELY 100% PROOF OF EVERYTHING THIS SITE WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE! Don’t let rationality get in the way of a cool idea.)

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The mushrooms aren’t about tripping. Or not ONLY about tripping.

 

But I digress.

It’s not that weird when you know the history. In a lot of Teutonic (old German) and Scandinavian traditions, pigs represent good luck and prosperity. That’s why you’ll see them with four leaf clovers and a lot of bags of gold or coins. The idea is basically wishing you a prosperous new year.

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Why does only one wear clothes? We may never know.

But…that didn’t stop the card artists from just going hog-wild on the odd things that pigs can do in these cards. Sometimes, it seems downright UNlucky.

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This is obviously on a farm, and they’re getting drunk for the slaughter.

In some cases, I’m just glad that it’s the artists who were drinking instead of the pigs, because otherwise, where would we see a gnome playing on a see-saw with a piglet?

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WE’RE the lucky ones!

A lot of spilled money, too. I guess that’s a sign of excess but also seems…careless.

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Dammit, kid, have a care!

Some are downright threatening, though.

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Go all in. I dare you.

Some make me want to purge and purge and purge until I’m eternally clean…

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Now…where did those coins come from?

Pigs. Enjoy your New Year Pigs.

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I like to imagine how this card would smell.

Krampus was a dame!

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The tongue gives it away.

Well, not really.

But there are quite a few German cards from early and mid-century that show a female version of Krampus. The above is one of my favorites because it looks like they took a stock image of a sweet young girl and just added the trappings — craftsmanship at its finest.   But some go a bit further:

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Krampus also has sex appeal, but men should let that cool/slide… [rough translation because my German’s out of practice]

It’s not a stretch, though. The central European tradition of Perchta (sometimes Percht or Berchta), a female witch figure who gives presents and doles out punishment, is still around. And she sometimes carries switches like Krampus or St. Nick or Knecht Ruprecht in older traditions. Sometimes she was even shown with horns, or at least hanging out with a Krampus:

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This picture scares me.

But even when male, it’s clear that Krampus is supposed to get some of his naughtiness from sex or from some kind of association with female iconography. I like how in this one a simple broom becomes the switches, as if suggesting that even your sweet little domestic goddess could turn into a demon at any moment, and her expression is anything but innocent, especially with those guys chained to the wall back there:

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I’ll sweep you into hell, sweetie.

Then there are the cards that show Krampus to be powerless against women, turning into a simpering puppy-dog figure when he sees a pretty girl. I’m never sure if these are supposed to “weaken” Krampus or just show that women are more powerful. But it’s a big theme:

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If you want to dance in the club, invite Krampus to your party today!

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What fine suitors she has.

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Looks like she said yes.

But then there are the ones that show women straight up taming and emasculating Krampus. Chicks got power, yo!

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This time the switches are a witch’s broom.

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That’s a beautiful story: A Krampus falls in love.

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She skinned him!

Some just go for the hard-ass bitch vibe. I’m down with that.

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The biker thing’s just an excuse to show panties. Not that I’m complaining…

But this last one is definitely my favorite. She’s a full on intentional Krampus collecting dudes in her basket. Men suck.

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Is the guy in the basket happy?

 

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