Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Santas from All Over The World - Part 2

Yesterday I posted the first part of my 'story' about Santas and their helpers in different countries of the world. Here is part #2 and some more info about Christmas gift givers.


Italian Santa - Babbo Natale  - comes with presents for kids on Christmas Eve. Another (female) gift giver, called 'la Befana' arrives on January 6.


Joulupukki (accompanied by a reindeer) wears snowshoes. He has many helpers - elves - who are also his assistants. They make toys and check what the good kids would want to get for Christmas. Joulupukki lives in the snowy Lapland countryside and has many reindeer. Of course the animals pull Joulupukki's  sleigh on Christmas Eve.


St. Nicholas Day is November 6. St. Nick comes at night and puts small gifts into children's slippers. That is why kids put them in front of their bedroom doors on the night of Dec.5. Besides, they also place plates on the table (in the kitchen or dining room) as they hope Saint Nicholas will fill it with some sweet goodies. And he does it of course - if the kids have been good.

New Zealand

Christmas takes place in the summer in this part of the world. Father Christmas wears his usual red robe with fur trim. A traditional Christmas cake in New Zealand is Pavlova - a rich, sweet treat made of baked whipped egg whites and sugar, decorated with fruits and whipped cream.
Christmas Father appears twice a year in New Zealand - second time during the festivities in June (wintertime there).


In Norway Christmas celebrations start on December 21 at the time of the solstice.
In the old days, Julenisse, an elf-like character, arrived on Christmas Eve and placed bunches of barley in various spots of the homes and farmyards for good luck. Nowadays, he brings straw dolls instead of barley stocks. Only kittens are allowed to watch Julenisse when he arrives with presents.


St. Nicholas brings small gifts and sweets on December 6 (good children only of course). The ones who have been bad may find a birch lest by St. Nick instead of a nice present.
On Christmas Eve, which is also the day of the main family celebrations, St. Nicholas puts his gifts under the Christmas tree. The gifts are unpacked on the same day, usually after the festive supper.
The name of the Christmas Eve gift bringer varies depending on a region. So, instead of St. Nicholas, you may be met by Starman (who wears a long red robe and a bishop's hat) or an Angel for example.


Padre Nicholas/ Pai Natal brings presents on Christmas Eve and leaves them under the Christmas Tree or the shoes placed near the fireplace (if there is one of course).


Caroling is a popular Christmas season custom in Romania. The carolers' leader usually carries a wooden star attached on a stick. The star is often decorated with a picture of the Holy Family. Romanian Santa, called Moş Crăciun/Moş Nicolae, comes on December 26.


In modern times, Russian Died Moroz brings presents for children on New Year's Eve.
According to an old legend, Kolyada (an elf-like, beautiful lady) comes on Christmas Eve to present kids with holiday gifts. To honor her (and to make her arrive faster), children sing songs/carols.
Kolyada is also known as Christmas caroling - a custom observed mainly in villages
In pre-Christian times Kolyada was a winter festival which was later transformed into Christmas.


Many centuries ago, Christmas was merrily celebrated in Scotland. Later, Hogmanay/ new Year's Day became a most popular festival. The most important person of Hogmanay is so called The First Footer - the first visitor which happens to visit us on new Year's Day. The person is supposed to bear good luck, that is why they should bring some good luck gifts such as a piece of coal, bread, some money or salt.



Although Saint Lucy/Lucia is neither a Santa nor a gift giver, she is an important character of the Christmas season in Sweden. Lucia was a Christian virgin and martyr (she lived in the early 4th century). The feast dedicated to her is celebrated on December 13. The day also marks the winter solstice. It is said that, in the old days, in the evening on December 12, St. Lucia, wearing a crown of light, was seen in the snowfields of Sweden. That is why, every year on Dec. 13 Swedish girls, dressed in white robes, wear wreaths of holly and blazing candles on their heads.


In Thailand Santa arrives on January 6. His outfit is red, but instead of the white fur trim, it is often decorated with Asian motifs.


The Philippines

In The Philippines Christmas season starts on December 16 and lasts till January 6 or the feast of Black Nazarene (Jan. 9) or the feast of the Santo Niño (the third Sunday of January). The Philipino Santa looks like his western relative. However, considering the climate in the Philippines maybe he would feel better in a liter outfit.


The name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch 'Sinterklaas'. The latter one was brought to the USA by the immigrants from The Netherlands. Later, due to pronunciation differences and mix-ups, Sinterklaas was transformed into Santa Claus.


The arrival of the Welsh Father Christmas is often proceeded by traditional Christmas songs concerts in which everybody, willing to sing, can participate.

You can read the first part of the 'story' about Santas from All Over The World here.

Happy Holidays!


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