Let’s Look At The Folklore About Santa Claus

Folklore of Santa

Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year), and Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats). Julbock or Julbukk, the Yule goat, from Sweden and Norway, had his beginnings as carrier for the god Thor. Now he carries the Yule elf when he makes his rounds to deliver presents and receive his offering of porridge.

When Early Christians co-opted the Yule holiday, they replaced the ancient Holly King with religious figures like St. Nicholas, who was said to live in Myra (Turkey) in about 300 A.D. Born an only child of a wealthy family, he was orphaned at an early age when both parents died of the plague. He grew up in a monastery and at the age of 17 became one of the youngest priests ever. Many stories are told of his generosity as he gave his wealth away in the form of gifts to those in need, especially children. Legends tell of him either dropping bags of gold down chimneys or throwing the bags through the windows where they landed in the stockings hung from the fireplace to dry. Some years later Nicholas became a bishop–hence the bishop’s hat or miter, long flowing gown, white beard and red cape.

When the Reformation took place, the new Protestants no longer desired St. Nicholas as their gift-giver as he was too closely tied to the Catholic Church. Therefore, each country or region developed their own gift-giver. In France he was known as Pare Noel. In England he was Father Christmas (always depicted with sprigs of holly, ivy, or mistletoe). Germany knew him as Weihnachtsmann (Christmas man). When the communists took over in Russia and outlawed Christianity, the Russians began to call him Grandfather Frost, who wore blue instead of the traditional red. To the Dutch, he was Sinterklaas (which eventually was mispronounced in America and became Santa Claus). La Befana, a kindly witch, rides a broomstick down the chimney to deliver toys into the stockings of Italian children. These Santas were arrayed in every color of the rainbow–sometimes even in black. But they all had long white beards and carried gifts for the children.

All of these Santas, however, never stray far from his earliest beginnings as god of the waning year. As witches, we reclaim Santa’s Pagan heritage.

Good Monday Morning, My Dear Brothers & Sisters of the Craft!

Good Monday Morning, my dear, dear friends! It is a glorious day to be alive. Let there be joy and happiness in all of our hearts for the Holidays are here.

 

I believe Pagans are the luckiest bunch of people on this planet. We can have it all. Our holidays started with Yule and continue on to the New Year. If you are Solitaries, you can pick the best and leave the rest.

 

So if you are celebrating the season of  Christmas, I would wish you a very joyous and merry Christmas and leave you with this wonderful tale….. 

 

One of the oldest and most popular Christmas poems ever, commonly referred to as “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” was written in the early 19th century.

Though its author is disputed, with the poem being

attributed to both Clement Clarke Moore and Henry Livingston Jr. over the years, it was definitely first published on Dec. 23, 1823 in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in upstate New York.

It is also referred to as “A Visit From St. Nicholas” or “The Night Before Christmas.”

Below are the original lyrics to the poem:

1 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
2 Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
3 The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
4 In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
5 The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
6 While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
7 And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
8 Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap-
9 When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
10 I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
11 Away to the window I flew like a flash,
12 Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
13 The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
14 Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
15 When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
16 But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
17 With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
18 I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
19 More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
20 And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
21 “Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
22 “On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
23 “To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
24 “Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
25 As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
26 When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
27 So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
28 With the sleigh full of Toys – and St. Nicholas too:
29 And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
30 The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
31 As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
32 Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
33 He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
34 And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
35 A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
36 And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:
37 His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
38 His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
39 His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
40 And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
41 The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
42 And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
43 He had a broad face, and a little round belly
44 That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
45 He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
46 And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
47 A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
48 Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
49 He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
50 And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
51 And laying his finger aside of his nose
52 And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
53 He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
54 And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
55 But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
56 Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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More Funny Christmas Comments

Santa Claus by Many Names

Santa Claus by Many Names

By Kelli Mahoney

The jolly elf most Christian teens know as Santa Claus goes by many other names around the world. Like many Christmas symbols and traditions he has evolved from old stories and practices. In some cases his stories are based on actions by real people that have acted to add some joy into others’ lives. Still, he is a quintessential symbol of Christmas as we know it.
 
St. Nicholas:
Once there was a monk known as St. Nicholas. He was born in Patara (near what we now know as Turkey) in 280 AD. He was known to be very kind, and that reputation led to many legends and stories. One story involved him giving away his inherited wealth while he helped those who were sick and poor around the country. Another story is that he saved three sisters from being sold into slavery. Eventually he became known as the protector of children and sailors. He died on December 6th, and so there is now a celebration of his life on that day.
 
Sinter Klass:
The Dutch maintained the celebration of St. Nicholas far more than other cultures, and brought that celebration to America. The Dutch gave St. Nicholas the nickname, “Sinter Klass”, and by 1804 woodcuts of Sinter Klass came to define modern day images of Santa. Washington Irving popularized Sinter Klass in The History of New York by defining him as the patron saint of the city.
 
Christkind:
Christkind, which is German for “Christ Child,” was considered something like an angel that went along with St.Nicholas on his missions. He would bring presents to good children in Switzerland and Germany. He is sprite-like, often drawn with blond hair and angel wings.
 
Kris Kringle:
There are two theories on the origin of Kris Kringle. One is that the name is simply a mispronunciation and misunderstanding of the Christkind tradition. The other is that Kris Kringle began as Belsnickle among the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1820s. He would ring his bell and give out cakes and nuts to small children, but if they misbehaved they would receive a spanking with his rod.
 
Father Christmas:
In England, Father Christmas comes down the chimney and visits homes on Christmas Eve. He leaves treats in children’s stockings. He would traditionally leave small toys and presents. Children would leave out mince pies and milk or brandy for him.
 
Pere Noel:
Pere Noel puts treats in the shoes of well-behaved French children. He is joined in his travels by Pere Fouettard. Pere Fouettard is the one who provides the spankings to bad children. While wooden shoes were used historically, today chocolate wooden shoes are filled with candies to commemorate the holiday. Northern France celebrates St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th, so Pere Noel visits then and on Christmas Day.
 
Babouschka:
There are several stories about Babouschka in Russia. One is that she put off traveling with the Wise Men to see the Baby Jesus, instead opting to have a party, and regretted it afterward. So she set out every year to find the baby Jesus and give Him her gifts. Instead, she does not find him and gives the gifts to the children she finds along the way. Another story is that she purposefully misled the wisemen, and soon realized her sin. She places gifts at the bedsides of Russian children, hoping that one of them is the baby Jesus and that He will forgive her sins.
 
Santa Claus:
Christmas shopping has been a tradition since the early 19th century. By 1820 stores advertised Christmas shopping, and by 1840 there were already separate holiday ads that featured Santa. In 1890 the Salvation Army began dressing up unemployed workers as Santa and having them solicit donations throughout New York. You can still see those Santas outside stores and on street corners today.

Yet it was Clement Clarke Moore, and Episcopal Minister, and Thomas Nast, a cartoonist, that brought us the epitome of our modern day Santa. In 1822 he wrote a long poem titled, An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas. It is what we now know as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and it gave us many of the modern day characteristics of Santa such as his sleigh, laughter, and ability to fly up a chimney. It was Nast that drew the cartoon of Santa in 1881 that depicted him with a round belly, white beard, large smile, and carrying a sack of toys. He gave Santa the red and white suit that we know so well today. He also provided Santa with his North Pole workshop, elves, and Mrs. Claus.