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Happy Independence Day from the Belsnickel

By: Dylan Bowman, HAHS Board Member

July 3, 2024

Belsnickel at the beach. Photograph by Dylan Bowman.

With the sweltering heat, the glory of summer, and the festivities of Independence Day all around us, snow and Christmas are the last thing on anyone's mind.

Except maybe one or two.

Yes, the Big Fella in the red coat and hat with reindeer is one, but he works year-round to meet a stiff deadline. The other we have in mind (and of whom I'm certain you are familiar with) is a bit more... unorthodox in his preparation methods. He never has to collect copious amounts of coal for the naughty...instead, he reuses one item repeatedly until discipline is finally instilled and good behavior embraced. However, it is never far from his mind that Christmas and the festive winter season are just around the corner.

And with it...justice.

At present, the Belsnickel's exact whereabouts are unknown due to his desire for peace and serenity before he again takes up the switch. Rumors state that he has been spotted in the woods and warm beaches of the Eastern United States, even coming as close to home as Sunbury.

We are certain he is having a relaxing summer vacation and is looking forward to meeting all those at the 21st Annual Belsnickel Parade & Festival this December 7th...whether impish or admirable. He has a gift of one kind or another for all.

All of us at the Halifax Area Historical Society wish you and yours a Happy Independence Day and hope that along with the hot dogs and fireworks, you take a few minutes to enjoy the family and friends around you and remember the founding of our country, the history that brought us here and the liberties that we enjoy in this great country.

In a way, we are all a bit like the wandering Belsnickel himself; endowed with the freedom and independence to be ourselves. We pray that you use that freedom for good. Perhaps he'll make sure you do.

Belsnickel and his switch enjoying some serenity in Northern Pennsylvania. Photograph by Dylan Bowman.

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