The season of Christmas comes with flavors of celebration and joy all over the world and it is one of the most celebrated festivals in the world. The beliefs, traditions and customs may change regionally but, the essence and spirit of the celebration remains the same. Children are the most exited during this time and eagerly wait for Christmas to come. It is due to their belief in gift bearing figures, like Father Christmas, Santa Clause etc. who bring gifts for them, that the spirit of Christmas lives. They even write letters to their gift-bearers telling them how good they were throughout the year and ask for their favorite gifts. Christkind is one such gift-bearing figure popular in some regions of the world. Christkind is different from the other gift bearing figures in terms of appearance but, the task assigned is the same - distributing gifts among children. Let us learn more about Christkind, the gift-bearing figure.
Christkind is a traditional gift bearing figure in Austria, Croatia, parts of Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Portugal, Hungary, etc.
The concept of Christkind was originally introduced by the religious reformer Martin Luther, who discouraged the figure Saint Nicholas and opted for a new concept. Following him, many Protestants replaced their belief in Saint Nicholas with that for Christkind in 16th-17th century. Also, they changed the day of gifts exchange to Christmas Eve from 6th December. While the concept of Christkind was adopted in Catholic belief during the 19th century, Weihnachtsmann, a rather secularized version of Saint Nicholas, gained popularity in protestant regions.
The appearance of Christkind is very different from other gift-bearers like Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas. Christkind is portrayed as resembling the infant of Bethlehem. He is represented as a sprite-like child with blond hair and angelic wings and, as per the intentions of Martin Luther, this figure is considered as the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. This figure is also considered as an angel who brings presents rather than infant Jesus. This figure can also be related to the Alsatian-born myth of a child who brings gifts to the baby Jesus. Parents tell children that he will not appear if they try to spot him out of curiosity.
What It Does
It is believed that Christkind leaves gifts for children under the Christmas tree. It is also believed that he rings a bell while leaving the house after dropping the gift; the bell ring is orchestrated by the elders of the family to keep the kids' belief alive. However, the children who find the gifts are so happy that they readily believe that it was Christkind who left the gifts for them.
Just like all the patrons of Christmas, Christkind also, no matter how different he is from the others, loves children and rewards good behaviour.