In the origin of this character, different legends are intermingled and myth and reality are confused. On the one hand, the story of ‘Father Christmas’ comes from a Viking tradition. It is about the personification of winter in a figure that was dressed and given food and drink and made to participate in all the celebrations. With this, the Scandinavian peoples wanted the forces of nature to be benevolent and especially not to make the winter too hard.
On the other hand, there is the story of St. NICOLÁS DE BARI, a historical character who was born in the 3rd century in Asia and who was the bishop of Myra. This person always shared what he had with others and was well known for his generosity. He had the custom of gathering the children of the village once a year to distribute sweets and gifts. It is also said that one day, knowing the difficulties of a man who had two daughters and could not marry them off for lack of a dowry, he entered his house through the chimney and left the dowry for the girls in some socks that were drying by the fireplace.
Thus, the figure of St. Nicholas became very popular in Holland and later this tradition came to America, through its colonists. In the 16th century, in the United States the figure of St. Nicholas became SAINT CLAUS or PAPA NOEL and much later, already in the last century, and curiously thanks to an advertisement for the Coca Cola brand, he finally became the old, fat, white-bearded man we all know today.
And, as all children know very well, Father Christmas’ home, since the legend originated in the Nordic countries, at the beginning of the 20th century the idea spread that he would live in the NORTH POLE; however, it must also be remembered that there are other nearby places postulated as his home, which are Swedish Lapland. Finnish Lapland and Greenland.
Thus, the current myth tells that SAINT CLAUS or PAPA NOEL would live near the NORTH POLE together with Mrs. Claus s and a large number of Christmas elves, who help him to make the toys and other gifts that the children ask for through letters.
To be able to transport the gifts, Santa would keep them in a magic sack and hand them out at 00:00h on December 25th, in a magic flying sleigh, pulled by the Christmas reindeer, led by Rodolfo; a reindeer that lights up the way with its bright red nose.
Father Christmas could enter the children’s homes, transforming himself into a kind of magic smoke; and thus enter through the chimney or another hole in the houses; if these do not have one.
In order to know which children deserve gifts, Santa would have a telescope capable of seeing all the children in the world; besides the help of other magical beings that would watch the children’s behaviour. Thus, if a child has behaved badly, it is said that the one who would come to visit him would be charcoal, and not Father Christmas; and as a punishment charcoal would be given to the children only as a present.
THE CHRISTMAS ELVES
Christmas Goblins or Christmas Gnomes are mythological beings described as a type of goblin (little men); they belong to the Christmas mythology
They are said to appear on Christmas nights when the North Star is at its brightest, from which they come. Christmas Elves are magical and kind beings who wear colourful costumes, boots and hats with little bells. There are young and old ones, but most of them are old. A series of multicoloured lights that cross the night sky of the latitudes warn of their arrival. There are all kinds of colours, but usually green. They would be in charge of making the gifts (mainly the toys), which Santa Claus would hand out to the good and obedient children.
THE MAGIC REINDEER
The idea of the first eight reindeer is said to have arisen from an ancient legend in Scandinavian mythology about the god ODIN, who rode an eight-legged horse called a sleipinir. Also in its origins, a white horse was in charge of carrying PAPA NOEL and an assistant called PEDRO CARBONILLA. Both the horse and PEDRO CARBONILLA would later disappear from the tradition. And later still, thanks to Christmas literature, the idea of the flying reindeer arose.
The Christmas reindeer would allow Father Christmas’ gifts to be distributed on the night between 24th and 25th December. The caretakers would be the Christmas elves.
The magic flying sleigh would be pulled by nine reindeer called Donner (Thunder), Blitzen (Lightning), Vixen (Joker, Playful, Naughty), Cupid (Cupid), Comet (Kite, Speedy), Dasher (Cheerful, Spirited, Energetic, or Vondin), Dancer, and Prancer (Acrobat, Jumper, Jumper or Pompon); and led by a red-nosed reindeer called Rudolph (Rudolph); this being the last reindeer to be added to the story.
- Rodolfo: He would be the current leader of the Christmas reindeer.
- Brioso: He would be the right leader before Rudolph’s arrival.
- Dancer: Would be the left leader before Rudolph’s arrival.
- Jumper: He would be the most beautiful of the reindeer and the one with the greatest resistance.
- Naughty: Equally considered the most beautiful, and of great endurance.
- Kite: He would be the reindeer in charge of spreading the happiness and wonder that Father Christmas brings
- Cupid: I would be the reindeer in charge of spreading the love and joy that brings PAPA NOEL
- Thunder: It would be the reindeer that represents the spirit of thunder.
- Lightning: It would be the reindeer that represents the spirit of the lightning
It consists of a midnight banquet, in honour of the birth of Christ which took place at that hour; similar to the Jewish banquet of the Pesach. Traditionally, turkey, cod, pork, lamb and other dishes are eaten, depending on the place where it is held or the traditions of the family. It is par excellence the moment of family union.
the christmas tree
It is a tradition of Celtic origin and has a lot of influence especially in the Nordic cultures. This tradition consists of placing a hollowed-out log in the house, inside which gifts and sweets are placed. This is a fertility rite that is preserved mainly in Catalonia and also in France where it is known as the ‘cuche de noel’.
The custom is that a small trunk is collected and left on the ground. At night food is left for it and it is covered with a blanket. On Christmas Eve, the children beat the trunk with a wooden stick and in return, the trunk lets its treasures escape.
In ancient times, every Christmas the trunk was collected to be used the following year and the one used that year was burned and its ashes were kept as a symbol of family prosperity. It was also scattered over the fields, so that they would bear abundant fruit.
In general, it is a good idea to light a fire in your home during the holidays and keep one of the half-burnt trunks as a symbol of protection for the rest of the year, just as a talisman would.
From this Noel log, the idea of the chocolate trunk has emerged, a very common sweet at this time of year.
For the Celtic druids, this plant was magical and a symbol of eternal life. It was used to combat many diseases and in rituals to ward off evil spirits and bad energies.
Legend has it that the woman who receives a kiss at Christmas – especially on Christmas Eve – under a sprig of mistletoe, will find love.
It is said that its magical power is due to the fact that, when it takes root in other plants, it does not ‘come from the sky or grow in the ground’.
We can take advantage of the magic of these beautiful legends, by writing our wishes for love on a little piece of paper, which we will tie to the mistletoe with a red ribbon.