Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge.

Monday, 3 December 2012

WEEK 3; LET'S LEARN!





Santa Claus, also known as Saint NicholasFather Christmas and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, brings gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours ofChristmas Eve, December 24.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man - sometimes with spectacles - wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots (images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache). 



According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer

Let's learn more about them.

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Each commentary is 2 points
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24 comments:

  1. There are many stories of how the legend of Santa Claus began. The historical stories and legends that surround Santa Claus have slowly grown and developed year after year, through century after century, to create the character we all know and love today. Here are some of them I've found.

    Polish Santa

    The star is a Christmas symbol in Poland. On Dec. 24th, the first star shining in the sky announces that the Advent fast is over, and an extra place is set at the dinner table in honor of the Christ child. After feasting, Star Man arrives in a long robe which is decorated with stars. He carries a long pole with a lantern shaped like a star mounted to the top to light the way. Good children are rewarded with candy, fruit and small presents. In addition to Star Man, on Dec. 6th. St. Nicholas also delivers presents. Christmas trees are decorated with fruit, cookies, ornaments of cut paper, and decorated eggs.

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    1. Papa Noel is one of the most popular incarnations of St. Nick, and Pere Noel from France is one of the most famous versions. He resembles Santa Claus in appearance, but instead of using reindeer he rides a single donkey called Gui, which means Mistletoe in French. Like many other countries, some regions of France also celebrate St. Nicholas’ day on December Fifth. For this holiday, along with the traditional St. Nick figure, the French also have a character called La Pere Fouettard (The Whipping Father). Like Belsnickel, he’s a figure who is supposed to be feared by naughty kids, and based on his back-story, it’s easy to see why. In the most popular version, it is said that in the 1100s La Pere Fouettard and his wife kidnapped and murdered three young men and then cooked them into a stew. After the victims were discovered and brought back to life by the benevolent St. Nicholas, La Pere Fouettard repented his evil deeds and vowed to serve as his helper.

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  2. Germany

    "Weinachtsmann"

    This name means Christmas Man. On Dec. 6th, Saints Feast Day, children would leave their shoes on the doorstep. Weinachtsmann would fill the shoes with toys and gifts. In some parts of Germany he brought presents on Christmas Eve accompanied by Christkindle "Christ's Little Helper".

    In Germany Saint Nicholas also travels with an assistant, known as Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus, or Pelzebock, and comes with a sack on his back and a rod in his hand. Good children receive a gift, but naughty children are punished by the assistant with a few hits of the rod.

    Holland

    "Sint Nikolass" or "Sinterklaas"

    Sintirklass is an austere bishop who wore a red bishop's costume and rode on a white horse (or sailed in on a ship) arriving on the 6th of December. He carries a big book which tells him how the Dutch children have behaved during the past year. Good children are rewarded with gifts and the bad ones are taken away by his assistant, Black Peter.

    In the sixteenth century, children placed wooden shoes by the hearth the night of Sinterklaas' arrival. The shoes were filled with straw, and a meal for the saint's gift-laden donkey. In return, Sinterklaas would insert a small treat into each clog. In America, the shoe was replaced with the stocking, hung by the chimney.

    The Dutch kept the St. Nicholas tradition alive. As the "protector of sailors," St. Nicholas graced the prow of the first Dutch ship that arrived in America. And the first church built in New York City was named after him. Sinterklaas became Anglicized into Santa Claus. No longer depicted as a bishop, Santa Claus still delivered gifts, although the date was changed to Christmas Eve. The colors of red and white, formerly part of the bishop's vestments, evolved into Santa Claus' present-day "uniform."


    Sweden

    "Tompte"

    Tomptes are elves who live deep in the forest. At Christmas time they make ornaments from wheat to decorate the trees. They also deliver gifts to the good children. Tompte's were always seen accompanied by a goat made of wheat, called a Julback.


    North Pole

    Eskimo Santa - He would leave toys and goodies to good children with the help of his companions the Snow Babies. His Snow Baby helpers are believed to be the result of Peary's first North Pole expedition. Mrs. Peary gave birth to a caucasian baby girl, and the Eskimos would travel for many miles to view her fair skin. They called the baby Ah-Poo-Mickaninny, which translates to Snow Baby.


    Italy

    La Befana is good witch who dresses all in black and brings gifts to children on the Epiphany, January 6th. In many Spanish countries; Spain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and South America, the children wait for the Three Kings to bring their Christmas gifts.

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  3. Here’s a collection of interesting facts about Santa and his team:-

    In 365 days, comprising 24 hours each, Santa does just 31 hours of work. That’s how long it takes to deliver millions of presents, thanks to differing time zones.
    He comes down the chimney, but doesn’t need a chimney to enter the house.

    With global population of 6.7 billion people, of which around 28% are under 15 years old, thats over 5 millions presents that the elves need to make in Santas workshop every day of the year.

    He somehow knows whether each child has been good or bad throughout the year.

    In Poland, Santa Claus gives out gifts on the 6th of December .

    Reindeer can’t actually fly, The ninth reindeer, Rudolf, was brought on to the team in 1939.

    Santa has different names in countries around the world, including Father Christmas, Santa Claus, St Nicholas, Pere Noel, Sinterklaas.

    The North Pole is freezing, so how come water-based presents and heat sensitive gifts aren’t damaged?

    With the weight of presents and the speed that he needs to travel,

    Santa faces G forces of over 17000G during his journey.

    Santa travels at approximately 3,000 times the speed of sound– no wonder Norad says it’s tracking the fast thing in the world!

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    1. Oh thank you, some of these facts were not familiar to me, but now everything's clear.

      What I find also notable is that it was Washington Irving, who did away with the characterization of Santa Claus as a "lanky bishop" in his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, instead he described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving's story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney.

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  4. Santa Claus's home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates—often with the aid of elves or other supernatural beings—the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.
    In North American tradition (in the United States and Canada), Santa lives on the North Pole, which according to Canada Post lies within Canadian jurisdiction in postal code H0H 0H0 (a reference to "ho ho ho", Santa's notable saying, although postal codes starting with H are usually reserved for the island of Montreal in Québec). On December 23, 2008, Jason Kenney, Canada's minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, formally awarded Canadian citizenship status to Santa Claus. "The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete," Kenney said in an official statement.
    There is also a city named North Pole in Alaska where a tourist attraction known as the "Santa Claus House" has been established. The US postal service uses the city's zip code of 99705 as their advertised postal code for Santa Claus. A Wendy's in North Pole, AK has also claimed to have a "sleigh fly through".
    Each Nordic country claims Santa's residence to be within their territory. Norway claims he lives in Drøbak. In Denmark, he is said to live in Greenland (near Uummannaq). In Sweden, the town of Mora has a theme park named Tomteland. The national postal terminal in Tomteboda in Stockholm receives children's letters for Santa. In Finland, Korvatunturi has long been known as Santa's home, and two theme parks, Santa Claus Village and Santa Park are located near Rovaniemi.

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  5. Coca-Cola created the modern Mr. Claus
    When Father Christmas first began showing up in illustrations, he wore many different colored robes: Green, purple, blue, and brown, among others. Beginning in the late 1800s, it became popular to outfit Santa in a red suit. Artist Louis Prang depicted him that way in a series of Christmas cards in 1885, and The New York Times reported on the red garments in 1927. But the modern image of Santa Claus as the jolly man in the red suit was seared into American pop culture in 1931, when artist Haddon Sundblom illustrated him that way for a widely-circulated campaign for Coca-Cola.

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    1. The most well-known image and idea of Santa is the one created and popularized by the multi-million dollar corporation, Coke. BUT Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilize the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had already used a red and white Santa to sell mineral water in 1915 and then in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923:)

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    2. Yes, there's a Christmas Urban Legend that says that Santa's red suit was designed by Coca-Cola and that they might even 'own' Santa. However, this is definitely NOT TRUE.
      Long before coke had been invented, St Nicholas had worn his Bishop's red robes. During Victorian times, he wore a range of colours, but red was always his favourite!
      In January 1863, the magazine Harper's Weekly published the first illustration of St Nicholas/St Nick by Thomas Nast. In this he was wearing a 'Stars and Stripes' outfit! This is when Santa really started to develop his big tummy and the style of red and white outfit he wears today. On January 1st 1881, Harper's Weekly published Nast's most famous image of Santa, complete with a big red belly, an arm full of toys and smoking a pipe!
      By 1931, when Coke first used Santa in their advertising, his image was well established. The first 'Coke Santa' was drawn by artist Haddon Sundblom. He took the idea of Nast's Santa but made him even more larger than life and jolly, replaced the pipe with a bottle of Coke and created the famous Coke holding Santa!
      Coca-Cola also agree that the red suit was made popular by Thomas Nast not them!

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  7. The most well-known names for the reindeer pulling Santa Claus' sleigh come from two sources. The names are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolf.
    All but the last name come from the poem: 'Twas the Night before Christmas', commonly credited to Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863).
    Two of the reindeer names, Donner/Donder and Blitzen, are often the source of confusion, misspelling, and misinformation. The short facts are these: Donner/Donder and Blitzen were named 'Dunder' and 'Blixem' (the Dutch words for 'thunder' and 'lightning') in the original printing of 'A Visit From St. Nicholas. '
    In modern times, other reindeer have been named in books, movies, and television shows but none have become well-known and generally accepted members of the team. These other names include: Fireball, Leroy, Pablo, Olive, Clarice.

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    1. Some information about Rudolph (the red-nosed reindeer)

      Rudolph's story was originally written in verse by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939, and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time.
      According to this story, Rudolph's glowing red nose made him a social outcast among the other reindeer. However, one Christmas Eve Santa Claus was having a lot of difficulty making his flight around the world because it was too foggy. When Santa went to Rudolph's house to deliver his presents he noticed the glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided it could be a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. He asked Rudolph to lead the sleigh for the rest of the night, Rudolph accepted and returned home a hero for having helped Santa Claus.

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  8. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. He is the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.

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  9. In the United States and Canada, his name is Santa Claus.
    In China, he is called Shengdan Laoren.
    In England, his name is Father Christmas, where he has a longer coat and a longer beard.
    In France, he's known as Pere Noel.
    In Germany, children get presents from Christindl, the Christ Child.
    In Costa Rica, Colombia, and parts of Mexico, the gift bearer is el Niño Jesus, “the infant Jesus.” In Brazil and Peru, he's called Papai Noel.
    In Italy Babbo Natale, which means Father Christmas, is Santa. Children put a pair of their shoes by the door on the day before Epiphany and the following morning they find them filled with small gifts and candy. Italy, like Spain, Portugal and most of the Latin American nations ( or countries speaking Romance languages), is mostly Catholic. December 25 is a day of more religious observance, remembering the birth of Christ. The Epiphany, called Little Christmas, is the day for gift giving. However, Babbo Natale does come on Christmas Eve in some parts of Italy.
    In Spain children leave their shoes under the Christmas tree the night of January 5th and presents from the Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) appear the next morning. Santa Claus is called Papa Noel and some children receive presents both days on December 24th (from Papa Noel) and on January 6th (from the Three Kings).
    In Morocco he is known as Black Peter

    In Japan, Santa Claus is called Santa Claus or just “Santa”. Children often call him “Santa no ojisan”, which means “Uncle Santa”.
    In the Netherlands, he is called Kerstman.
    In Finland, he is called Joulupukki.

    Sinter Klaas in Dutch. He is much thinner than the American Santa Claus. He rides a white horse and gets help from numerous Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) handing out gifts and candy. He arrives the first Saturday in November by Boat. In the evenings, Dutch Children sing songs in front of the fire place or in the living room and leave their shoe with a present. In the mornings they will find their shoe filled with candy and small presents. On the 5th of December Dutch households have a “Pakjesavond” (Presents night) and exchange presents.
    In Russia, he is called Grandfather Frost that is “ded moroz”

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  10. Santa Claus in China is called Dun Che Lao Ren which means "Christmas Old Man”. The Christian children of China hang muslin stockings hoping that Christmas Old Man will fill them with gifts and treats. The Chinese Christmas trees are called ‘Trees of Light’.

    The non-Christian Chinese call this season the Spring Festival and celebrate with many festivities that include delicious meals and pay respects to their ancestors. The children are the main focus of these celebrations, they receive new clothes and toys, eat delectable food and watch firecrackers displays.

    Both Santa Claus and the Laughing Buddha are associated with the notion of “bringing the gift of happiness” to everyone and particularly to children. They both wear red clothing and carry sacks full of gifts. But while Santa is closely associated with the season of Christmas, Laughing Buddha or Mi Lo Fa (as he is known in Chinese) is welcomed, celebrated and invited into homes, restaurants and businesses all through the year.

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  12. Milk and cookies for Santa

    Here are a few of the common theories:

    -Do you know that the most popular cookie kids leave for Santa is the Oreo? Maybe that’s because over 9.1 billion of them are sold each year. There is no exact date recorded but the idea of leaving cookies for Santa started sometime in the 1930’s. Naughty kids use them to bribe Santa at the last minute and nice kids use them as a way of thanking him for all his hard work on Christmas Eve.

    -Cookies and milk being left out for Santa Claus: the modern Christmas tree tradition came from western Germany, from a medieval custom, as a paradise tree -- a tree decorated with apples, wafers and/or cookies. When the "paradise tree" merged with Christianity and became part of the Christmas celebration cookies and wafers were still part of the decorations. As time passed Santa would often snack on a decoration (to keep in shape!). Children (and perhaps parents) noticed that there were decorations that had been snacked on (although in old times the snacking was done by mice too) and so began leaving them out on plates by the fire -- partially to keep them close to Santa's entrance and partially to keep the mice away. Homes that did not use wafers or cookies thought it would be nice to leave out something for me to munch on too after hearing stories from other families about how much Santa enjoyed their cookies. Eventually fewer and fewer people decorated the tree with food but wanted to keep up the tradition of leaving something for Santa Claus.

    -The tradition of Christmas cookies for Santa isn’t an incredibly old one. In fact, it is believed to have emerged around the time of the Great Depression when parents wanted to inspire their children to share with others, especially in hard times.

    -Straw and carrots are left for the reindeer. Hay was left for St. Nicholas's horse before 1821. These items were, at one time, left for the Magi's camels. Americans leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus. In England sherry and mince pie are left.

    -The origin of leaving cookies is unknown, but an article for the Alibene Reproter-News (Texas), wrote the tradition may be similar to other European holiday customs like how Dutch children fill wooden shoes with hay for Santa's horses.

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  15. The Australian Santa

    Images of Santa in Australia range from the traditional jolly old man with fur lined coat to Santa in spotty board shorts taking a swim in a pool. Australians love irreverence and Christmas time is no exception and Santa is the perfect mark. Santa’s with bare bellies sunhats and sunglasses are just as common as the jolly cold weather fellow. Christmas cards depict him dancing with kangaroos, water skiing, communing with koalas and having a BBQ in the bush. Roland Harvey started an “Australian Santa” fad with his great Christmas cards. The Australian Santa is full of summer fun, he throws off the furs and dives into the sea and seems to be relieves to let go of the Northern Hemisphere Winter and jump into the laid back Australian Summer. Australians love Santa, but they have given him the “Aussie” treatment to make him their own.

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  16. Let’s continue describing Santas in different countries)

    Finland. Finnish people believe that Father Christmas lives in the north part of Finland called Korvatunturi, or Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle. People from all over the world send letters to Santa Claus in Finland.

    Germany. Martin Luther introduced das Christkindl (an angel-like Christ Child) to bring Christmas gifts and reduce the importance of Sankt Nikolaus (Protestants don’t have saints). Later this Christkindl figure would evolve into der Weihnachtsmann in Protestant regions and would eventually cross the Atlantic to mutate into the English term “Kris Kringle.”

    Iceland. The Yule Lads, or Yulemen, (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar) are figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic verion of Santa Claus. Their number has varied throughout the ages, but currently there are considered to be thirteen. Two examples of the 13 are: Gluggagægir, the Window-Peeper. He is a voyeur who looks through windows in search of things to steal. He starts visitning on 21 December and leaves on 3 January. Stúfur, Stubby. He is abnormally short and steals pans to eat the crust left on them. He starts visitning on 14 December and leaves on 27 December.

    Scandinavia. In much of the Scandinavian countries the Christmas Eve gift giver is the Jultomten or Christmas Gnome. Originally a goblin who brought good or bad luck to farmers; he became popular as the gift giver in the 19th century.

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  17. By the way: I don’t know where this information comes from, but every time when trying to find information about Russian Christmas, instead of our traditional Father Frost I always come across some “babushka,” who allegedly plays the role of Santa Claus in our country))) Here’s an extract from one of the articles: “Babushka is a traditional Russian Christmas figure who gies gifts to children. Her name means grandmother and the legend is told that she decided to not go with the wise men to see Jesus because of the cold weather. Later she regretted not going and set off to try and catch up, filling her basket with presents. She never found Jesus, and that is why she visits each house, leaving toys for good children.” Strange, isn’t it?

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  18. The classic song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" gives us some insight into Santa's style as a manager. His flying workforce has a serious problem: poor Rudolph is being bullied by the other, more nasally normal reindeer. According to the lyrics, when does Santa first step in? On Christmas Eve, to make Rudolph a job offer that makes him the envy of the reindeer who had been harrassing him.. The song shows that Santa's intervention was perhaps a bit belated: there was a substantial time period when "All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names / They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games." And his involvement was spurred by the weather, rather than his reindeer resources problem: it was "one foggy Christmas Eve" that made him realize how useful Rudolph's nose could be in lighting the path of his sleigh. The job offer was an effective solution to Rudolph's problem, however: after seeing how useful his bright red nose was, "the reindeer loved him." The character and story of Rudolph were developed in 1939 by a man named Robert L. May who was working for the Montgomery Ward department store. It wasn't set to music until a decade later; Gene Autry's 1949 version hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores chart. Rudolph has gone down in history!

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  19. Since Santa is something different for everyone, I am going to use this description. Santa is a mixture of many different figures from many different cultures. The Dutch is St. Nick, England’s is Father Christmas, and the German have Kris Kringle. In ancient times Norse and German people told stories of The Yule Elf who brought gifts during Solstice to those who left offerings of porridge. When Clemment Moore’s poem “The Night Before Christmas” became enormously popular, the “Jolly old elf” was adopted as the ideal Santa. Years later Thomas Nast illustrated him as a round bellied whiskered figure in tight red leggings and coat. Coca-Cola’s popular advertising changed the concept of Santa to a cheerful full bearded man with the now popular red suit, black boots and wide belt. And there’s Santa that we all know and love today!

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