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Santa Claus

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Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or simply "Santa", is the figure who, in Western cultures, is described as bringing gifts on Christmas Eve, December 24[1] or on his Feast Day, December 6.[2] The legend may have its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of Saint Nicholas.

The modern depiction of Santa Claus as a fat, jolly man (or gnome) wearing a red coat and trousers with white cuffs and collar, and black leather belt and boots, became popular in the United States in the 19th century due to the significant influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast.[3] This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, and films. In the United Kingdom and Europe, his depiction is often identical to the American Santa, but he is commonly called Father Christmas.

One legend associated with Santa says that he lives in the far north, in a land of perpetual snow. The American version of Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, while Father Christmas is said to reside in Lapland. Other details include: that he is married and lives with Mrs. Claus; that he makes a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behaviour; that he delivers presents, including toys, candy, and other presents to all of the good boys and girls in the world, and sometimes coal or sticks to the naughty children, in one night; and that he accomplishes this feat with the aid of magical elves who make the toys, and eight or nine flying reindeer who pull his sleigh.[4][5]

There has long been opposition to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. Some Christians say the Santa tradition detracts from the religious origins and purpose of Christmas. Other critics feel that Santa Claus is an elaborate lie, and that it is unethical for parents to teach their children to believe in his existence.[6] Still others oppose Santa Claus as a symbol of the commercialization of the Christmas holiday, or as an intrusion upon their own national traditions.[7]

Thomas Nast's  "Merry Old Santa Claus,"

Source.

Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, "Merry Old Santa Claus," from Harper's Weekly 1881

Origins

Early Christian origins

Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Santa Claus. He was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany) he is still portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. In 1087, the Italian city of Bari, wanting to enter the profitable pilgrimage industry of the times, mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Christian Saint and procure the remains. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was desecrated by Italian sailors and the spoils, including his relics, taken to Bari [8] [9] where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout, thus justifying the economic cost of the expedition. Saint Nicholas became claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers and children to pawnbrokers.[10] He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow.[11]

Influence of Germanic paganism and folklore

Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. Since many of these elements are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Santa Claus.[12]

Odin was sometimes recorded, at the native Germanic holiday of Yule, as leading a great hunting party through the sky.[13] Two books from Iceland, the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, describe Odin as riding an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir that could leap great distances, giving rise to comparisons to Santa Claus's reindeer.[14] Further, Odin was referred to by many names in Skaldic poetry, some of which describe his appearance or functions; these include Síđgrani,[15] Síđskeggr,[16] Langbarđr,[17] (all meaning "long beard") and Jólnir[18] ("Yule figure").

According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy.[19] This practice survived in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization and can be still seen in the modern practice of the hanging of stockings at the chimney in some homes.

This practice in turn came to the United States through the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam prior to the British seizure in the 17th century, and evolved into the hanging of socks or stockings at the fireplace. In many regions of Austria and former Austro-Hungarian Italy (Friuli, city of Trieste) children are given sweets and gifts on Saint Nicholas's Day (San Niccolň in Italian), in accordance with the Catholic calendar, December 6.

Numerous other influences from the pre-Christian Germanic winter celebrations have continued into modern Christmas celebrations such as the Christmas ham, Yule Goat, Yule logs and the Christmas tree.

Little girl meets with Santa Claus

  Source.

Little girl meets with Santa Claus in 1909

 

Pre-Christian Alpine traditions

Originating from Pre-Christian Alpine traditions and influenced by later Christianization, the Krampus is represented as a Companion of Saint Nicholas. Traditionally, some young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December and particularly on the evening of December 5 and roam the streets frightening children (and adults) with rusty chains and bells.

Dutch folklore

In the Netherlands and Belgium, Saint Nicolas (often called "De Goede Sint" — "The Friendly Saint") is aided by helpers commonly known as Zwarte Piet ("Black Peter").

The folklore of Saint Nicolas has many parallels with Germanic mythology, in particular with the god Odin. These include the beard, hat and spear (nowadays a staff) and the cloth bag held by the servants to capture naughty children. Both Saint Nicolas and Odin ride white horses that can fly through the air; the white eight-legged steed of Odin is named Sleipnir (although Sleipnir is more commonly depicted as gray). The letters made of candy given by the Zwarte Pieten to the children evokes the fact that Odin ‘invented’ the rune letters. The poems made during the celebration and the songs the children sing relate to Odin as the god of the arts of poetry.

There are various explanations of the origins of the helpers. The oldest explanation is that the helpers symbolize the two ravens Hugin and Munin who informed Odin on what was going on. In later stories the helper depicts the defeated devil. The devil is defeated by either Odin or his helper Nörwi, the black father of the night. Nörwi is usually depicted with the same staff of birch (Dutch: "roe") as Zwarte Piet.

Another, more modern, story is that Saint Nicolas liberated an Ethiopian slave boy called 'Piter' (from Saint Peter) from a Myra market, and the boy was so gracious he decided to stay with Saint Nicolas as a helper. With the influx of immigrants to the Netherlands starting in the late 1950s, this story is felt by some to be racist[20]. Today, Zwarte Piet have become modern servants, who have black faces because they climb through chimneys, causing their skin to become blackened by soot. They hold chimney cleaning tools (cloth bag and staff of birch).[21]

Until the Second World War, Saint Nicolas was only helped by one servant. When the Canadians liberated the Netherlands in 1945, they reinstated the celebrations of Sinterklaas for the children. Unaware of the traditions, the Canadians thought that if one Zwarte Piet was fun, several Zwarte Pieten is even more fun. Ever since Saint Nicolas is helped by a group of Zwarte Pieten.

Presents given during this feast are often accompanied by poems, some basic, some quite elaborate pieces of art that mock events in the past year relating to the recipient. The gifts themselves may be just an excuse for the wrapping, which can also be quite elaborate. The more serious gifts may be reserved for the next morning. Since the giving of presents is Sinterklaas's job, presents are traditionally not given at Christmas in the Netherlands, but commercialism is starting to tap into this market.

The Zwarte Pieten have roughly the same role for the Dutch Saint Nicolas that the elves have to America's Santa Claus. According to tradition, the saint has a Piet for every function: there are navigation Pieten to navigate the steamboat from Spain to Holland, or acrobatic Pieten for climbing up the roofs to stuff presents through the chimney, or to climb through themselves. Throughout the years many stories have been added, mostly made up by parents to keep children's belief in Saint Nicolas intact and to discourage misbehaviour. In most cases the Pieten are quite lousy at their job, such as the navigation Piet (Dutch "wegwijs piet") pointing in the wrong direction. This is often used to provide some simple comedy in the annual parade of Saint Nicolas coming to the Netherlands, and can also be used to laud the progress of children at school by having the Piet give the wrong answer to, for example, a simple mathematical question like 2+2, so that the child in question is (or can be) persuaded to give the right answer.

In the Netherlands the character of Santa Claus, as known in the United States (with his white beard, red and white outfit, etc.), is entirely distinct from Sinterklaas, known instead as (de) Kerstman (trans. (the) Christmasman. Although Sinterklaas is the predominant gift-giver in the Netherlands in December (36% of the population only give presents on Sinterklaas day), Christmas is used by another fifth of the Dutch population to give presents (21% give presents on Christmas only). Some 26% of the Dutch population give presents on both days.[22]

Modern origins

Pre-modern representations of the gift-giver from church history and folklore merged with the British character Father Christmas to create the character known to Britons and Americans as Santa Claus. Father Christmas dates back at least as far as the 17th century in Britain, and pictures of him survive from that era, portraying him as a well-nourished bearded man dressed in a long, green, fur-lined robe. He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, and was reflected in the "Ghost of Christmas Present" in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

In other countries, the figure of Saint Nicholas was also blended with local folklore. As an example of the still surviving pagan imagery, in Nordic countries the original bringer of gifts at Christmas time was the Yule Goat, a somewhat startling figure with horns.

In the 1840s however, an elf in Nordic folklore called "Tomte" or "Nisse" started to deliver the Christmas presents in Denmark. The Tomte was portrayed as a short, bearded man dressed in gray clothes and a red hat. This new version of the age-old folkloric creature was obviously inspired by the Santa Claus traditions that were now spreading to Scandinavia. By the end of the 19th century this tradition had also spread to Norway and Sweden, replacing the Yule Goat. The same thing happened in Finland, but there the more human figure retained the Yule Goat name. But even though the tradition of the Yule Goat as a bringer of presents is now all but extinct, a straw goat is still a common Christmas decoration in all of Scandinavia.

American origins

In the British colonies of North America and later the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift-giver merged further. For example, in Washington Irving's History of New York, (1809), Sinterklaas was Americanized into "Santa Claus" but lost his bishop's apparel, and was at first pictured as a thick-bellied Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green winter coat. Irving's book was a lampoon of the Dutch culture of New York, and much of this portrait is his joking invention.

Modern ideas of Santa Claus seemingly became canon after the publication of the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (better known today as "The Night Before Christmas") in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823 anonymously; the poem was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore. In this poem Santa is established as a heavyset man with eight reindeer (who are named for the first time). One of the first artists to define Santa Claus's modern image was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century. In 1863, a picture of Santa illustrated by Nast appeared in Harper's Weekly.

In the late 19th century, a group of Sami people moved from Finnmark in Norway to Alaska, together with 500 reindeer to teach the Inuit to herd reindeer. The Lomen Company then used several of the Sami together with reindeer in a commercial campaign. Reindeer pulled sleds with a Santa, and one Sami leading each reindeer. The American commercial Santa Claus, coming from the North Pole with reindeer was born.[23]

L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, a 1902 children's book, further popularized Santa Claus. Much of Santa Claus's mythos was not set in stone at the time, leaving Baum to give his "Neclaus" (Necile's Little One) a wide variety of immortal support, a home in the Laughing Valley of Hohaho, and ten reindeer which could not fly, but leapt in enormous, flight-like bounds. Claus's immortality was earned, much like his title ("Santa"), decided by a vote of those naturally immortal. This work also established Claus's motives: a happy childhood among immortals. When Ak, Master Woodsman of the World, exposes him to the misery and poverty of children in the outside world, Santa strives to find a way to bring joy into the lives of all children, and eventually invents toys as a principal means.

Images of Santa Claus were further popularized through Haddon Sundblom's depiction of him for The Coca-Cola Company's Christmas advertising in the 1930s. The popularity of the image spawned urban legends that Santa Claus was in fact invented by Coca-Cola or that Santa wears red and white because those are the Coca-Cola colors.[24] In reality, Coca-Cola was not even the first soft drink company to utilize the modern image Santa Claus in its advertising – White Rock Beverages used Santa to sell mineral water in 1915 and then in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923. Furthermore, the massive campaign by Coca-Cola simply popularised the depiction of Santa as wearing red and white, in contrast to the variety of colours he wore prior to that campaign; red and white was originally given by Nast.[25][26]

The image of Santa Claus as a benevolent character became reinforced with its association with charity and philanthropy, particularly organizations such as the Salvation Army. Volunteers dressed as Santa Claus typically became part of fundraising drives to aid needy families at Christmas time.

In 1889, the poet Katherine Lee Bates created a wife for Santa, Mrs. Claus, in the poem "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride." The 1956 popular song by George Melachrino, "Mrs. Santa Claus," helped standardize and establish the character and role in the popular imagination.

In some images of the early 20th century, Santa was depicted as personally making his toys by hand in a small workshop like a craftsman. Eventually, the idea emerged that he had numerous elves responsible for making the toys, but the toys were still handmade by each individual elf working in the traditional manner.

The concept of Santa Claus continues to inspire writers and artists, as in author Seabury Quinn's 1948 novel Roads, which draws from historical legends to tell the story of Santa and the origins of Christmas. Other modern additions to the "mythology" of Santa include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the ninth and lead reindeer immortalized in a Gene Autry song, written by a Montgomery Ward copywriter.

Santa Claus in popular culture

By the end of the 20th century, the reality of mass mechanized production became more fully accepted by the Western public. That shift was reflected in the modern depiction of Santa's residence—now often humorously portrayed as a fully mechanized production and distribution facility, equipped with the latest manufacturing technology, and overseen by the elves with Santa and Mrs. Claus as executives and/or managers.[27] An excerpt from a 2004 article, from a supply chain managers' trade magazine, aptly illustrates this depiction:

Santa's main distribution centre is a sight to behold. At 4,000,000 square feet (370,000 m2), it's one of the world's largest facilities. A real-time warehouse management system is of course required to run such a complex. The facility makes extensive use of task interleaving, literally combining dozens of DC activities (put away, replenishing, order picking, sleigh loading, cycle counting) in a dynamic queue...the DC elves have been on engineered standards and incentives for three years, leading to a 12% gain in productivity...The WMS and transportation system are fully integrated, allowing (the elves) to make optimal decisions that balance transportation and order picking and other DC costs. Unbeknownst to many, Santa actually has to use many sleighs and fake Santa drivers to get the job done Christmas Eve, and the TMS optimally builds thousands of consolidated sacks that maximize cube utilization and minimize total air miles.[28]

Many television commercials, comic strips and other media depict this as a sort of humorous business, with Santa's elves acting as a sometimes mischievously disgruntled workforce, cracking jokes and pulling pranks on their boss. For instance, an early Bloom County story has Santa telling the story of how his elves went on strike, only to be fired by Ronald Reagan and replaced by unemployed aircraft control personnel.

Another recent depiction can be found in the 2007 film Fred Claus, a comedy starring Vince Vaughan in the title role as the sarcastic older brother to Santa (played by Paul Giamatti.) Fred visits his brother at the North Pole and, under the guidance of Santa and the elves (some who act as Santa's bodyguards), helps deliver the Christmas toys.

NORAD, the joint Canadian-American military organization responsible for air defense, regularly reports tracking Santa Claus every year.[29]

In Kyrgyzstan, a mountain peak was named after Santa Claus, after a Swedish company had suggested the location be a more efficient starting place for present-delivering journeys all over the world, than Lapland. In the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, a Santa Claus Festival was held on December 30, 2007, with government officials attending. 2008 was officially declared the Year of Santa Claus in the country. The events are seen as moves to boost tourism in Kyrgyzstan[30], which is predominately Muslim.

Criticism

Christian opposition

Such condemnation of Santa Claus is a phenomenon not limited to the 20th century, but rather originated among some Protestant groups of the 16th century and was prevalent among the Puritans of 17th-century England and America who banned the holiday as either pagan or Roman Catholic. Following the English Civil War, under Oliver Cromwell's government Christmas was banned. Following the Restoration of the monarchy and with Puritans out of power in England,[31] the ban on Christmas was satirized in works such as Josiah King's The Examination and Tryal of Old Father Christmas; Together with his Clearing by the Jury (1686) [Nissenbaum, chap. 1].

Rev. Paul Nedergaard, a clergyman in Copenhagen, Denmark, attracted controversy in 1958 when he declared Santa to be a "pagan goblin" after Santa's image was used on fund-raising materials for a Danish welfare organization Clar, 337. One prominent religious group that refuses to celebrate Santa Claus, or Christmas itself, for similar reasons is the Jehovah's Witnesses [32]. A number of denominations of Christians have varying concerns about Santa Claus, which range from acceptance to denouncement.[33][34]

Santa as a symbol of commercialism

In his book Nicholas: The Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus, writer Jeremy Seal describes how the commercialization of the Santa Claus legend began in the 1800s. "In the 1820s he began to acquire the recognizable trappings: reindeer, sleigh, bells," said Seal in an interview.[35] "They are simply the actual bearings in the world from which he emerged. At that time, sleighs were how you got about Manhattan."

Writing in Mothering, writer Carol Jean-Swanson makes similar points, noting that the original figure of St. Nicholas gave only to those who were needy and that today Santa Claus seems to be more about conspicuous consumption:

  Our jolly old Saint Nicholas reflects our culture to a T, for he is fanciful, exuberant, bountiful, over-weight, and highly commercial. He also mirrors some of our highest ideals: childhood purity and innocence, selfless giving, unfaltering love, justice, and mercy. (What child has ever received a coal for Christmas?) The problem is that, in the process, he has become burdened with some of society's greatest challenges: materialism, corporate greed, and domination by the media. Here, Santa carries more in his baggage than toys alone![36]  

In the Czech Republic, a group of advertising professionals started a website against Santa Claus, a relatively recent phenomenon in that country.[7] "Czech Christmases are intimate and magical. All that Santa stuff seems to me like cheap show business," said David König of the Creative Copywriters Club, pointing out that it is primarily an American and British tradition. "I'm not against Santa himself. I'm against Santa in my country only." In the Czech tradition, presents are delivered by Ježíšek, which translates as Baby Jesus.

In the United Kingdom, Santa -- or Father Christmas -- was historically depicted wearing a green cloak. More recently, that has been changed to the more commonly known red suit.[37] One school in the seaside town of Brighton banned the use of a red suit for erroneously believing it was only indicative of the Coca-Cola advertising campaign. School spokesman Sarah James said: "The red-suited Santa was created as a marketing tool by Coca-Cola, it is a symbol of commercialism."[38] In reality, the red-suited Santa was created by Thomas Nast.

Deception controversy

The belief in Santa Claus by children is widespread. In an AP-AOL News poll, 86% of American adults believed in Santa as children, with the age of 8 being the average for stopping to believe he is real, although 15% still believed after the age of 10.[39] In New Zealand, 85 percent of 4-year-old children and 65 percent of 6-year-olds believe in Santa Claus.[40]

Parental and societal encouragement of this belief is not without controversy. The editors of Netscape framed one complaint about the Santa Claus myth: "Parents who encourage a belief in Santa are foisting a grand deception on their children, who inevitably will be disappointed and disillusioned."[41] University of Texas at Austin psychology professor Jacqueline Woolley contradicts the notion that a belief in Santa is evidence of the gullibility of children, but evidence that they believe what their parents tell them and society reinforces. According to Woolley:

  The adults they count on to provide reliable information about the world introduce them to Santa. Then his existence is affirmed by friends, books, TV and movies. It is also validated by hard evidence: the half-eaten cookies and empty milk glasses by the tree on Christmas morning. In other words, children do a great job of scientifically evaluating Santa. And adults do a great job of duping them.[42]  

Woolley posits that it is perhaps "kinship with the adult world" that causes children not to be angry that they were lied to for so long. The criticism about this deception is not that it is a simple lie, but a complicated series of very large lies.[6] The objections to the lie are that it is unethical for parents to lie to children without good cause, and that it discourages healthy skepticism in children.[6] With no greater good at the heart of the lie, it is charged that it is more about the parents than it is about the children. Writer Austin Cline posed the question: "Is it not possible that kids would find at least as much pleasure in knowing that parents are responsible for Christmas, not a supernatural stranger?"[6]

Others, however, see no harm in the belief in Santa Claus. Psychologist Tamar Murachver said in that it was a cultural, not parental, lie; thus, it does not undermine parental trust.[43] The New Zealand Skeptics also see no harm in parents telling their children that Santa is real. Spokesperson Vicki Hyde said, "It would be a hard-hearted parent indeed who frowned upon the innocent joys of our children's cultural heritage. We save our bah humbugs for the things that exploit the vulnerable."[43]

Dr. John Condry of Cornell University interviewed more than 500 children for a study of the issue and found that not a single child was angry at his or her parents for telling them Santa Claus was real. According to Dr. Condry, "The most common response to finding out the truth was that they felt older and more mature. They now knew something that the younger kids didn't."[44]

Home of Santa Claus

In American tradition, Santa lives on the North Pole. However, each Nordic country claims Santa's residence to be within their territory. In Denmark, he is told to live on Greenland. In Sweden, the town of Mora has a themepark named Tomteland. The national postal terminal in Tomteboda in Stockholm receives childrens' letters for Santa. The Finnish town Rovaniemi has long been known in Finland as Santa's home, and has today a themepark called Santa Claus Village.

Europe and North America

Throughout Europe and North America, Santa Claus is generally known as such, but in some countries the gift-giver's name, attributes, date of arrival, and even identity varies.

  • Austria: Christkind ("Christ child")
  • Armenia: Ձմեռ Պապիկ (Dzmer Papik "Grandfather Winter")
  • Bulgaria: Дядо Коледа ("Grandfather Christmas")
  • Canada: Santa Claus; Pčre Noël ("Father Christmas")
  • Czech Republic: Svatý Mikuláš ("Saint Nicholas"); Ježíšek (diminutive form of Ježíš ["Jesus"])
  • Denmark: Julemanden
  • Estonia: Jőuluvana
  • Faroe Islands: Jólamađurin
  • Finland: Joulupukki
  • France: Pčre Noël ("Father Christmas," also a common figure in other French-speaking areas)
  • Germany: Weihnachtsmann ("Christmas Man"); Christkind in southern Germany
  • Greece: Άγιος Βασίλης ("Saint Basil")
  • Hungary: Mikulás ("Nicholas"); Jézuska or Kis Jézus ("child Jesus")
  • Ireland: Santa Claus, Santy or Daidí na Nollag (Father Christmas)
  • Italy: Babbo Natale ("Father Christmas"); La Befana (similar to Santa Claus; she rides a broomstick rather than a sleigh, but is not considered a witch); Santa Lucia ("Saint Lucy," a blind old woman who on December 13th brings gifts to children in some regions, riding a donkey)
  • Latvia: Ziemassvētku vecītis ("Christmas pop")
  • Liechtenstein: Christkind
  • Lithuania: Senis Šaltis ("Old Man Frost") or Kalėdų Senelis ("Christmas Grandfather")
  • Netherlands & Flanders: Kerstman
  • Norway: Julenissen
  • Poland: Święty Mikołaj / Mikołaj ("Saint Nicholas"); Gwiazdor in some regions
  • Portugal: Pai Natal ("Father Christmas"); Menino Jesus ("child Jesus")
  • Romania: Moş Crăciun ("Father Christmas"); Moş Niculae ("Father Nicholas")
  • Russia: Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz, "Grandfather Frost")
  • Serbia: Дедa Мрaз / Deda Mraz (Ded Moroz, "Grandfather Frost")
  • Spain: Reyes Magos (Biblical Magi) is the autochthonous tradition, and representations of the Magi are done in the streets the 6th of January. Due to external influence, Santa Claus (Papá Noel) is becoming more common. Many families have adopted both traditions.
    • Catalonia: Apart from the Reis Mags (Biblical Magi) tradition, in Catalonia there is another local tradition, the Tió de Nadal. Usually this character gives small gifts, the more important gifts being given by the Reis Mags. As in the rest of Spain, the imported Pare Noel (Santa Claus) tradition is becoming more common.
  • Sweden: Jultomten
  • Switzerland: Christkind / Babbo Natale / Pčre Noël
  • Turkey: Noel Baba ("Father Christmas") Although Turks are mainly Islamic, many homes carry the tradition of "Noel Baba" and a Christmas (or New Year) tree.
  • Ukraine: Svyatyy Mykolay
  • United Kingdom: Santa Claus, Santa, Father Christmas
  • United States: Santa Claus; Kris Kringle; Saint Nicholas or Saint Nick
  • Wales: Siôn Corn

Latin America

Santa Claus in Latin America is generally referred to as Papá Noel, but there are variations from country to country.

  • Brazil: Papai Noel ("Father Noah"); Os Tręs Reis Magos ("The Three Mage Kings")
  • Chile: Viejito Pascuero (Christmas old man)
  • Mexico: Santo Clós (Santa Claus); Nińo Dios ("child Jesus"); Los Reyes Magos
  • Colombia: Papá Noel ("Father Noah")

Asia

People around Asia, particularly countries that have adopted Western cultures, also celebrate Christmas and the gift-giver traditions passed down to them from the West. Some countries that observe and celebrate Christmas (especially as a public holiday) include Hong Kong, Philippines, East Timor, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and the Christian communities within Central Asia and the Middle East.

  • Asia: Santa Claus
  • Japan: サンタクロース (santakurosu)
  • Hong Kong: Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas

Africa and the Middle East

Christians in Africa and Middle East who celebrate Christmas generally ascribe to the gift-giver traditions passed down to them by Europeans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Descendants of colonizers still residing in these regions likewise continue the practices of their ancestors.[3]

  • South Africa: Sinterklaas; Father Christmas; Santa Claus
  • Egypt: Papa Noel

Variations of Christmas around the world

  • Joulupukki - Finnish Santa from Korvatunturi
  • Weihnachten

References and Notes

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Comments

santa claus is unreal, but you must believe to recieve.



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