Le Père Fouettard


Le Père Fouettard

Le Père Fouettard (French for "The whipping Father") is a character who accompanies St. Nicholas in his rounds at Christmas dispensing lumps of coal and/or floggings to the naughty children while St. Nick gives gifts to the well behaved. He is known mainly in the Eastern regions of France, although similar characters exist all over Europe (see Companions of Saint Nicholas).

Orgin

The most popular story about the orgin of Le Pere Fouettard was first told in the year 1150. In it, an Inn Keeper (or in some versions a butcher ) captures three boys who appear to be wealthy as they are on their way to enroll in a religious boarding school. Along with his wife, he kills the children in order to rob them (the more gruesome accounts say that he and his wife drug the children, slit their throats, cut them into pieces, and put them in barrels). St. Nicholas discovers the crime and resurrects the children. After this, Le Père Fouettard repented and became St. Nick's partner. A slightly altered version of this story claims that St. Nicholas forced Le Père Fouettard to become his accomplice as a punishment for his crimes.

Another story states that during the siege of Metz (a city in Eastern France) in 1552, an effigy of king Charles Quint was burned and dragged through the city. Meanwhile, an association of tanners (people who tanned hides for a living) created a grotesque character (also a tanner) armed with a whip and bound in chains that punished children. After Metz was liberated, the charred effigy of Charles Quint and the character created by the tanners somehow assimilated into what is now known as Le Père Fouettard. Events surrounding the city's liberation and the burning of the effigy coincided with the passage of St. Nicholas, hence Le Père Fouettard became his "bad cop" counterpart.

In the 1930s, Le Pere Fouettard appeared in the United States under the translated name Father Flog. Although almost identical to the original French personification, Father Flog had nothing to do with Christmas and also had a female accomplice named Mother Flog. The two doled out specific punishments for specific childhood crimes (i.e. cutting out the tongue for lying).

imilar Characters

Le Père Fouettard is similar if not identical to numerous characters that perform the same function. Knecht Ruprecht, a tradition of the Germanic People is probably the best known of these characters . In the Alsace region, Le Père Fouettard is known as Hans Trapp. In Switzerland, Schmutzli is nearly identical. Hans Muff, Pelzebock, Drapp or Buzeberg are also used in various parts of Bavaria. In the Netherlands and Flanders they have Zwarte Piet.

Similar traditions in the Alpine regions have characters that are more beastial and range from a goat to an actual demon or devil. The most popular of these characters is Krampus, other similar/identical characters include Klaubauf , Bartel, Bellzebub, and Čert (Devil).

In Haiti Tonton Macoute (literally translates as "Uncle Gunnysack") snatches bad children from their beds on Christmas Eve and makes them disappear forever.

In some traditions, the bringer of gifts and the bringer of punishment are fused into one. Rumpelklas, Pelzebock, Pelznickel, Belzeniggl, and Belsnickel are examples of this tradition.

To some, Le Père Fouettard is synonymous with the bogeyman.

Appearance

The most common depiction of Le Père Fouettard would be of a man with a sinister face dressed in dark robes with scraggly unkempt hair and a long beard. He is armed with either a whip, a large stick, or with bundles of switches. Some incarnations of the character have him wearing a wicker back pack in which children can be placed and carried away. Sometimes he merely carries a large bundle of sticks on his back (some speculate that the photograph on the cover of Led Zeppelin 4 is Le Pere Fouettard). Often, his face is darkened to varying degrees. Some say it is because of his being born of a burned effigy, others say that it is from the soot in the chimneys that he goes down with St. Nicholas. In other representations, Le Pere Fouettard is identical to the dutch character Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). Further renderings of the character show him as being nearly identical to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, but wearing a black suit instead of a red one.

Le Père Fouettard in Politics

A biography of Arthur Rimbaud tells of an anarchist journal called Le Père Fouettard which was quite influential to the Paris Commune government of the late 19th century. [http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/039332267X/ref=sib_dp_srch_pop?v=search-inside&keywords=Le+Pere+Fouettard&go.x=8&go.y=13&go=Go!#/ Read excerpt here]

Le Père Fouettard in Popular Culture

French singer Jaques Dutronic mentions Le Père Fouettard in his song "La Fille du Père Noël" ("Father Christmas's daughter").

Another French pop star, Alain DeLorme mentioned him in the song "Venez Venez St. Nicolas"

There is a restaurant named Le Père Fouettard at 9 Rue Pierre Lescot, in Paris which features "Classic Parisian Fare".

Robert Schumann composed a piano piece in 1848 most commonly known as Knecht Ruprecht (a similar character, see Companions of Saint Nicholas), but in some cases the piece is called [http://www.mutopiaproject.org/cgibin/piece-info.cgi?id=784 Le Père Fouettard]

[http://www.frenchbeer.info/France/Brewery/Henry.html/ Brasserie Henry] brews a [http://www.frenchbeer.info/France/Brewery/Labels/HenPereF.jpg/ Père Fouettard Biere]

American singer/songwriter [http://www.myspace.com/billysugarfix / Billy Sugarfix] posts a song called "Le Pere Fouettard" on his myspace page during the winter holiday season.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pere Fouettard — Père Fouettard Le Père Fouettard (Hans Trapp en alsacien, Rupelz/Rüpelz en Lorraine germanophone, Zwarte Piet « Pierre le noir » en néerlandais) est un personnage du folklore de la fête de Saint Nicolas. C est un personnage sinistre,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Père Fouettard — (nach frz.: fouet = Peitsche, Geißel) ist eine in Frankreich verbreitete Figur des Nikolaus Brauchtums. Sie hat ihre Entsprechung im Knecht Ruprecht, sowie im Schmutzli bzw. Krampus in der Schweiz, im elsässischen Hans Trapp und im… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Père Fouettard — Le Père Fouettard (Hans Trapp en alsacien, Père La Pouque en Normandie, Rubelz en Lorraine germanophone, Hanscrouf dans la région de Liège germanophone) est un personnage du folklore de la fête de Saint Nicolas. C’est un personnage sinistre, qui… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • fouettard — fouettard, arde [ fwetar, ard ] adj. • XVIIIe; de fouetter ♦ Père Fouettard : personnage dont on menaçait les enfants. ⇒ croquemitaine. fouettard, arde adj. Loc. Fam. Père fouettard: personnage imaginaire, armé d un fouet, dont on menaçait les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • père — [ pɛr ] n. m. • XIIe; pedre fin XIe; paire v. 980; lat. pater, tris 1 ♦ Homme qui a engendré, qui a donné naissance à un ou plusieurs enfants. Devenir, être père. Être (le) père de deux enfants. « Allons donc, et que les Cieux prospères Nous… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pere Noel — Père Noël Le Père Noël est un personnage lié à la fête de Noël. Il fit son apparition aux États Unis au XIXe siècle. Le terme « Père Noël » apparaît plus tardivement en France, au début du XXe siècle[1]. Qu il soit appelé… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Père-noël — Le Père Noël est un personnage lié à la fête de Noël. Il fit son apparition aux États Unis au XIXe siècle. Le terme « Père Noël » apparaît plus tardivement en France, au début du XXe siècle[1]. Qu il soit appelé Father… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Père Claus — Père Noël Le Père Noël est un personnage lié à la fête de Noël. Il fit son apparition aux États Unis au XIXe siècle. Le terme « Père Noël » apparaît plus tardivement en France, au début du XXe siècle[1]. Qu il soit appelé… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Père Noel — Père Noël Le Père Noël est un personnage lié à la fête de Noël. Il fit son apparition aux États Unis au XIXe siècle. Le terme « Père Noël » apparaît plus tardivement en France, au début du XXe siècle[1]. Qu il soit appelé… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Père noel — Père Noël Le Père Noël est un personnage lié à la fête de Noël. Il fit son apparition aux États Unis au XIXe siècle. Le terme « Père Noël » apparaît plus tardivement en France, au début du XXe siècle[1]. Qu il soit appelé… …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.