We’re continuing our theme week today of “Christmas Characters All Over the World”. We’ve talked about figures from Germany and Italy, and today we’re talking about le Pere Fouettard from France! His name is French for “Father Whipper” or “Old Man Whipper”. He accompanies Saint Nicholas on St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, delivering lumps of coal and/or beatings to naughty children. He’s usually depicted as having a sinister face, dressed in dark robes with scraggly, messy hair and a long beard. He carries a whip, large stick or bundle of switches, and has a wicker backpack in which to carry children away. The most popular origin story of le Pere Fouettard is from the year 1150. A innkeeper (or butcher), kidnapped 3 boys who appeared to be wealthy. Along with his wife, he kills the children in order to rob them. Saint Nicholas discovers the children and resurrects the children, forcing the butcher to become le Pere Fouettard as punishment.
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