The Bear Facts

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Who, Who, Who exactly is Santa?

Many+people+around+the+world+debate+the+true+origins+of+Santa+Claus.+
Many people around the world debate the true origins of Santa Claus.

Many people around the world debate the true origins of Santa Claus.

Photo from hdwallpaperinns.com

Photo from hdwallpaperinns.com

Many people around the world debate the true origins of Santa Claus.

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The western world, which is now the ENTIRE world, culturally celebrates Christmas. Originally Christ’s Mass, Cristmasse, Nativity, the Christmas we celebrate is a mixture of pagan and pre-Christian tradition. However, the contemporary Christmas is in practice, just a capitalist celebration at this point.

That isn’t a problem, though. It stimulates the economy, and who doesn’t love getting gifts? Most of us try to avoid materialism in good conscious, but it would be disappointing still to wake to wake up to nothing under the tree.

The modern mascot of Christmas is Santa Claus. He’s essentially adapted from legends and folklore from many European cultures. He’s primarily based upon the Dutch “Sinterklaas,” who follows the same pattern of breaking-and-entering and leaving jovial gifts for all the good children. What many don’t know is that the Dutch prototype for Santa had helpers too! Well, just one. A black man named Zwarte Piet! Dutch for Black Peter. The character seemed to parallel slavery, and contemporarily the character sparks controversy, albeit only 92 percent of the Dutch finding the character racist.

Sinterklaas and Santa Claus are both based on legends of the Greek Orthodox bishop, Nicholas, who was later sainted for the many miracles he performed. He was well known for his loving nature, fondness of giving secret gifts, and as well as his defense of the sanctity of human life. He prevented many executions to be performed by the church and in addition, helped prevent itinerant women from falling into prostitution.

In addition, the image of Santa Clause was also based on pagan mythology, as one of the aspects of the Norse god Odin was a bearded, kindly old hermit. The British legend Father Christmas has been around long before Santa as well. However, the Santa we know didn’t wear red, didn’t have a sleigh of reindeer, but wore ratty green winter clothing and road around on a goat. Not very jolly, especially the goat part.

However, in the ‘30s, a Swedish artist named Haddon Sundblom painted a series of paintings for the Coca-Cola Company, which featured the Santa we know and love today. That impressively large scale advertising camp was so successful that Coca-cola is now renowned for their festive holiday advertisements.

Don’t fret about the origin of Santa Claus though, because it’s all in good fun and the image of Santa will likely change in the future as well. The LCM Bear Facts staff wishes you all a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year’s!

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Who, Who, Who exactly is Santa?