Friday, December 24, 2004

Santa Stories

Well, it's Christmas Eve. Most -- not all -- of my Christian friends will be awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. Er, well, at least their children will be. So let's have us a few links regarding dear ol' St. Nick. ;)

Santa is big business in Finland, where you can visit Santa's village. That's right. The fat man has his own village and it's situated right on the Arctic Circle in Lapland. That's kind of funny, considering that kids sit on his lap ... get it? ... Lapland ... lap ... oh, never mind. He loves children and has the patience of a saint (sorry, I couldn't resist that one), but even Santa can slip and have a bad day. That is the source of a complaint from a British family complaining that they spent a fortune to visit the aforementioned village, only to receive the brushoff from Mr. Claus. The St. Nicholas Center, dedicated to "discovering the truth about Santa Claus" -- offers this St. Nicholas Timeline. The site also offers information about the origin of Santa, the various symbols related to St. Nicholas [what is the deal with the three golden balls, anyway?], and a comparison between Santa and St. Nicholas [very interesting]. There is a subset of Christians who eschew the trappings of Christmas because of the pagan leanings of its most treasured rituals. Other folks may not realize how the syncretic Christian religion has coopted pieces of other folk's traditions. You can start with Wikipedia's Santa Claus entry and then surf on over to see what has to say on the subject. There is some general information on this page, and most of it can be backed up with a little research. And for an interesting read, you can check out How Odin Became Santa Claus (Yes, I am linking it even though their URL spells "magic" by adding a "k"). I also highly recommend two books: 4000 Years of Christmas and The Magical Year.

By the way, Christmas Eve this year falls on the Fifth Day of Yuletide. Frith to all my Heathen friends.

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