View Full Version : Santa Claus: Myths and Folklore

November 25th, 2006, 09:45 PM
I posted this reply (edited a bit) in another thread (http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=145270) about Christmas customs and realized Santa is going to need his own thread. This post covers some more traditional aspects. Feel free to add to add to it. I'm sure there's lots of interesting European pre-Christain folkore about him as well. :)

Santa's suit: an Urban Legend from Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/santa.asp)

Originally Posted by Snopes
...The Santa Claus figure, although not yet standardized, was ubiquitous by the late 19th century. Santa was portrayed as both large and small; he was usually round but sometimes of normal or slight build; and he dressed in furs (like Belsnickle) or cloth suits of red, blue, green, or purple. A Boston printer named Louis Prang introduced the English custom of Christmas cards to America, and in 1885 he issued a card featuring a red-suited Santa. The chubby Santa with a red suit (like an "overweight superhero") began to replace the fur-dressed Belsnickle image and the multicolored Santas....

:santasmil Some Santa Claus History :santasmil

Origin and History of Santa/St. Nicholas/Father Christmas on Religious Tolerance.org (http://www.religioustolerance.org/santa1.htm)

...Some religious historians and experts in folklore believe that there is no valid evidence to indicate that St. Nicholas ever existed as a human. In fact, there are quite a few indicators that his life story was simply recycled from those of Pagan gods. Many other ancient Pagan gods and goddesses were similarly Christianized in the early centuries of the Church. His legends seems to have been mainly created out of myths attributed to the Greek God Poseidon, the Roman God Neptune, and the Teutonic God Hold Nickar. "In the popular imagination [of many Russians] he became the heir of Mikoula, the god of harvest, 'who will replace God, when God becomes too old.' " 8

When the church created the persona of St. Nicholas, they adopted Poseidon's title "the Sailor." They seem to have picked up his last name from Nickar. Various temples of Poseidon became shrines of St. Nicholas. 1 "In medieval England... in tiny sea ports we find the typical little chapel built on an eminence and looking out to sea." 8 St. Nicholas also adopted some of the qualities of "The Grandmother" or Befana from Italy. She was said to have filled children's stockings with gifts. Her shrine at Bari was also converted into a shrine to St. Nicholas.

The Christian church created a fictional life history for St. Nicholas. He was given the name Hagios Nikolaos (a.k.a. St. Nicholas of Myra)....

More here:

Based on Panati's occasionally reliable _Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things_ on his red suit:

1. Santa's red and white robes predate the turn of the century and actually date back to the historical personage St. Nicholas who was the basis for Santa Claus.

2. The red and white robes were the colors of the robes of bishops of the Roman Catholic church.

3. St. Nicholas was born in the ancient Turkish town of Lycia in the fourth century.

4. St. Nicholas was not commonly referred to during the Protestant Reformation in most European countries. However, the stories were passed on by the Dutch and the term "Santa Claus" evolves from the Dutch term for St. Nicholas.

5. The modern image of Santa Claus in the United States comes from a poem entitled "The Night Before Christmas" written by Dr. Clement Clarke Moore in 1822, which spread widely in newspapers and magazines throughout the country.
6. Moore's Santa was still a little different from the modern rolypoly version. This final version was popularized in a series of Christmas drawings that the famed cartoonist, Thomas Nast did for _Harper's Weekly_ between 1863 and 1886.


History from a an interesting St. Nicholas site (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=35) :)
History of Santa Claus (http://www.garsondesign.com/holidays/xmas/referencepages/santaclaus_history1.html)
Where did the red suit come from? (http://www.lone-star.net/mall/main-areas/xmas-santa-origin2.htm)
Santa FAQ from SantaClaus.com (http://www.santaclaus.com/santa-claus-christmas-faq.php)
The True Sory of Santa from Holland (http://www.thehollandring.com/truestory.shtml#top)

If anyone would like to ask him personally, write this to this address:
Santa Claus Park
Arctic Circle
999 Finland

I wonder if he has e-mail? :santasmil

The Devil is in your chimney!: Is Satan Stanta Claus? (http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news1299/santy.html) A Special Report from the folks at Landover Baptist Church. :lol:
Snopes: Did a Japanese store nail Santa to a Cross in a missed cross-cultural Christmas display? (http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/cross.asp):foh: Snopes does not discount this but Religious Tolerence.Org does.
Stamping Out Santa from Jew Eat Yet (http://dannymiller.typepad.com/blog/2005/12/stamp_out_santa.html) A protest. :lol:
Fright Christmas! (http://www.thesleaze.co.uk/frightxmas.html) :yikess:

November 25th, 2006, 10:34 PM
Deja Vu!

Wow, thanks for all the info and links. Very interesting. I didn't know a lot of this stuff. I'll check the links out later :)

I'll see if I can find some more interesting info as well.

December 2nd, 2006, 02:10 PM
Santa was a Shaman

The psychedelic secrets of Santa Claus

Modern Christmas traditions are based on ancient mushroom-using shamans.

Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, most of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe.

The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as "fly agaric." These mushrooms are now commonly seen in books of fairy tales, and are usually associated with magic and fairies. This is because they contain potent hallucinogenic compounds, and were used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences.

Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts, are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and consumption of these most sacred mushrooms.....

More Here (http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3136.html) with lots of interesting links too. :santasmil

December 10th, 2006, 03:35 PM
...Troll the ancient Yule tide carol... :) hehe

Interesting links, WD.

March 10th, 2007, 04:40 AM
hmmm some interesting stuff. I'd heard long ago that Santa Claus was derived from an old German Myth about a Demon that came once a year and stole all the Bad children in the world. And that Christians later converted it to the Santa we know today. *shrugs* no clue if this is true.

March 10th, 2007, 11:34 AM
hmmm some interesting stuff. I'd heard long ago that Santa Claus was derived from an old German Myth about a Demon that came once a year and stole all the Bad children in the world. And that Christians later converted it to the Santa we know today. *shrugs* no clue if this is true.

That sounds like Krampus (http://www.allaboutkrampus.com/).

March 10th, 2007, 01:07 PM
That sounds like Krampus (http://www.allaboutkrampus.com/).

Wow! Great link and informaton! Thanks for posting.

Has all sorts of Christmas card ideas for 2007 now. :lol: