Don’t know who he is? Pas de problème because I’m about to tell you. I learned about him three years ago right before my first French Christmas and just reading about him was enough to scare the bejeezus out of me. Since the countdown to Christmas is winding down, I thought now would be a good time to retell the tale of the man that shall not be named and give all of you fair warning… you’ve got six days to clean up your acts and be good for goodness sake! Originally posted 15th December 2009
OK, this is weird. I was doing a little reading about French Christmas traditions. Figure since I’m here, might as well find out the happenings of the holiday, French style. And there is no use asking The Boyfriend, he is useless at relaying this kind of information.
So, in France, Santa Clause is Père Noël, nothing strange there, but Père Noël has a partner, and it’s not Rudolph. It’s an evil man named…dun dun dun…. Le Père Fouettard.
(I think the “dun dun dun” adds a nice dash of scary, don’t you?).
According to my sources (the ever reliable Wikipedia), Le Père Fouettard was a guy who kidnapped three little boys, robbed them, killed them, and then chopped them up and put them in a stew.
Holy Reindeer Droppings! How the Fudge does this guy end up having anything to do with Sugar Plums and Mistletoe? Apparently, Jolly Ol’ St. Nick some how discovered the crime (maybe when Le Père Fouettard’s name was flashing in red lights all over the naughty list) and magically resurrected the children (nice tie in to J.C. there with the resurrection – it is his birthday after all). Le Père Fouettard ends up feeling bad and becomes St. Nick’s partner and goes around with him on Christmas.
But get this, Le Père Fouettard doesn’t become all full of holiday cheer like Ebeneezer Scrooge did, he’s still sinister, so instead of handing out pressies, he punishes all the naughty children instead. Usually with a good old fashioned flogging.
Nothing says Christmas like a flogging.
Safe to say, I’m usually a well behaved girl, but after reading about you know who (don’t want to type his name again in case it has some sort of Beetlejuice effect) I’m going to be on my best behavior this holiday season.