Friday, October 25, 2019
The Victorian Santa Claus
His persona was part of the midwinter festival.
was the patron of rulers . . . and outlaws. He was seen as a War god, but had effeminate features. Folklorist Margaret Baker maintains that "the appearance of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whose day is the 25th of December, owes much to Odin, the old blue-hooded, cloaked, white-bearded Giftbringer of the north, who rode the midwinter sky on his eight-footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts."
Over time Father Christmas ebbed in popularity. As Santa Claus became more popular, the 2 were often confused. But in truth Father Christmas's roots, ironically, never came from Christmas. There are other stories that tie "Father Christmas" to the holiday and as the late night giver of gifts. Eventually his green robes became red. By the 1900's Father Christmas was a figure of the past.
But when and where did 'Santa' come from?
The British idea of 'Santa Claus' actually came from a Dutch character. The Dutch children believed that "Sinter Klaas" (Dutch for 'St. Nicholas') would leave candy and small toys in their wooden shoes left by the hearths on Christmas Eve.
Some time in the 1870's Sinter Klaas became Santa Claus. At some point the reindeer and sleigh were added to the story. Then thanks to Clement Moore, Thomas Nast, and Haddon Sundblom - the transition was complete.