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Christmas Traditions and Santa's Friends REQUESTING HELP FROM UK CITIZENS, SEE PAGE 4

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You know, it may be surprising that a really manly guy like me is into this sort of thing, but I have to confess that I love Christmas, I love multiculturalism, and I love the various incarnations of the Santa Claus figure around the world.

SPOILER: SANTA CLAUS IS NOT REAL, NOR ARE THOSE OTHER CHARACTERS WHO PERFORM A SIMILAR FUNCTION!  SORRY KIDS! ;)

I have gained a particular interest in a few of those characters who sort of capture Christmas or a Christmas-like holiday and who are similar in nature.  But there are so many other cool little folks, including a woman or two, who also bring gifts.  I'm going to share a few, and I hope that others will share their nation's or family's Christmas traditions.

Santa Claus - Of course most of us are familiar with the chubby old man who shares the works of his and his elves' labor throughout the year.

St. Nicholas - The Greek bishop who lived in what is now Turkey from 270-343.  He is the Christian character who contributed most to the Santa Claus legend as a result of his generostiy.  Many countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6, i.e. Belgium, or celebrate mostly on St. Nicholas Eve on December 5, i.e. The Netherlands.  He dresses in red with a bishop's mitre and crook.

St. Basil - Another Greek bishop who lived in Turkey and also was very generous, he is the Greek Santa Claus whom they celebrate on St. Basil's Day on January 1.  Today his costume is basically the same as the American Santa.

Ded Moroz a.k.a. Grandfather Frost - He is the Russian Santa character who came to prominence after the atheist Soviet regime outlawed any semblance of religion in their holiday.  Drawing from ancient Russian legends, they developed their own less saintly gift-giver.  His official color was at one time blue, though he often is seen with other colored coats.  He comes while you sleep on New Year's Eve, and gifts are then opened on New Year's Day.

Father Christmas - Drawing on pagan legends, Father Christmas is the incarnation of the Christmas spirit, and various translations of his name represent him throughout the world.  Today in the UK he is usually seen in a similar red coat to the American Santa's, but much longer and looser on his more slender body.  I prefer his former green costume with a wreath crown.  He comes on Christmas Eve and his gifts are opened the next morning.

Christkind or Christkindl - During the Reformation, Martin Luther sought to get away from Catholic saints and pagan traditions and developed the Christkindl or Christ Child.  This was supposed to be a gift-giving baby Jesus, but over time has now become a genderless angel, mostly celebrated in parts of Germany.  He (it?) usually brings gifts that are opened on Christmas Eve.  It is interesting to note that the name Kris Kringle came from Christkindl.

The Three Kings - The earliest gift-givers associated with the birth of Christ are the Three Wise Men, Three Kings, or Three Magi.  Many Latin American countries celebrate their coming on Epiphany, January 6th, when they traditionally arrived (12 days after the birth of Jesus).  Interestingly, in the Armenian Apostolic Church, January 6th is not Epiphany, but is Christmas Day.  They too celebrate the Three Kings as their Christmas gift-bringers.

That leads me to another interesting point: the different days of celebration.  According to the Armenians, January 6 is the original day of Christmas.  Their church has always been a separate entity from the Catholic Church, and thus when the Catholics designated December 25 as Christmas, the Armenian Apostolic Church clung to the original day.  So are there two Christmas Days celebrated in the world?  Actually no, because many do not realize that as recently as 1918, there were two Western calendars in use: the Julian and Gregorian calendars.  Both are very similar in that they are solar calendars that take Leap Year Day into account to keep the seasons consistent each year.  However, the Julian calendar was slightly off in its calculations, and therefore a Leap Year Day occurred every four years regardless.  But later the Gregorian calendar was developed that dictated that every century (i.e. 1700, 1800, 1900), the Leap Year Day would be dropped, except every 400 years.  In other words, the year 2000 did have a Leap Year Day, but 2100, 2200, and 2300 will not.  Over the centuries, the two calendars have gotten out of sync by 13 days.  Russia was the last country to stick to the old Julian calendar, but with the 1918 October Revolution (which appears to us to have occurred in November, until you realize that in the Julian Calendar it was in October!), they changed the system to match the rest of the world.  However, many Eastern Orthodox Churches still celebrate their holidays according to the Julian Calendar.  What this means is that in different parts of the world, diffferent countries celebrate Christmas on different days.  To most it is on December 25.  To Armenia it is on January 6.  To Russian and other Orthodox Church members it is on January 7.  To the Armenian diaspora in Israel it is on January 19.  The same can be said of other days.  For instance, the Ukrainians celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 19.  It's amazing what people do to celebrate!

So now that I've showered my knowledge upon you (and this was all from my research a couple years ago, without refreshing anything with those Wikipedia articles), I ask you how you celebrate the holidays.  I'd love to hear it all.  Twelve days of Christmas?  St. Stephen's Day?  What do you eat?  What character(s) do you celebrate?  Is it a Christian or secular holiday to you?  Do you get together with family?  Friends?  Are you Jewish and celebrate Hanukkah?  Muslim and celebrate Eid al-Fitr?  African-American and celebrate Kwanzaa?  Please share.

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And to think I had wondered about the spoiler...;)

I love the cold of winter, the end of the year, and the fact that virtually everything is completely dead of activity. The merchandising...not so much.

Three things are essential for me:

1. The soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas on indefinite loop which is IMO one of the finest albums of all time. I hope to finally obtain the uber limited 45rpm audiophile version this year.

2. For some reason my I always want to do my re-reading of the Sherlock Holmes canon at X-mas-time, with my Strand reproductions curled up in a big chair.

3. "Ihh weesh Ihh huud a million dolluurs." Flick the lighter currently on the Criterion LD. Also the Charlie Brown special and the Grinch are musts. Boris sounds exquisite on LD.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.

“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford

My review blog: thehificelluloidmonster.wordpress.com

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You missed out on Odin/Wotan the one eyed white-bearded God of the North who rides through the sky on his eight legged horse Sleipner with a sack on his back for the Yule or Wild Hunt. If you are good (and leaving some food helps) he will give you a present (custom has it in your shoes which you leave outside) , if you are bad he puts you in the sack and you have to work for a year for him in his toy factory in China.

Then there is Jingle the reindeer who visits the animals in the various Animal Crossing games on Christmas night.

And Rassilon who opens Omega's star on the feast of Rassilarium which weeps a year of good fortune to all those who have not broken any of the laws of time.

And the Gilded Yak flying on his enchanted canoe from the West Pole. Who will leave you the gift of shaving scum if you hang out soiled diapers on Yak Shaving Day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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its too early to talk about Christmas.   I'll wait until after Thanksgiving.  


E!-A!-G!-L!-E!-S! EAGLES!!!
SUPERBOWL LII CHAMPS!!!

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Hey jerkwad! I found out last year. :P

(seriously though, where'd Ziggy go off to? I haven't seen him on Skype in ages either.)

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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This is fast becoming a tradition.

I tell my mum that I've managed to talk the better half out of buying me something of no use to me and she gets upset because she has just got the same thing for Christmas.

I hope she manages to get a full refund because it's very expensive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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Captainsolo, those are fun traditions.  I too love the Charlie Brown cartoon and music.  But I've decided in recent years that I'm a big Rankin-Bass fan--I love all those stop motion shows and cartoons, and I've collected them all on DVD except for the two that until this year were only available on VHS (The Little Drummer Boy: Book II and The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow).  These carry a great deal of nostalgia for me.

Warbler, it's never to early for Christmas!  I enjoy Thanksgiving, but what I love most about Christmas is that it's not just a one day holiday--people celebrate all month!  I want to spend as much time in the Christmas spirit that I possibly can!

Bingowings...I just don't know what to do with you ;)

Bkev, I don't know about Zig.  Maybe he'll be home for Christmas :)

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darth_ender said:

SPOILER: SANTA CLAUS IS NOT REAL, NOR ARE THOSE OTHER CHARACTERS WHO PERFORM A SIMILAR FUNCTION!  SORRY KIDS! ;)

 

Nah, Santa is out there. You know what they say:

"I am [Santa] Claus MacLeod of the clan MacLeod. I am immortal. Merry Christmas to all!"

Trust me, I'm 18 and there is no such thing as 'too old'. :)

About traditions, anyway, I may not celebrate it, but I am interested in the holiday called Gravmas. I don't know very much about it, but here's something:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton_in_popular_culture#Newtonmas

(That, and supposedly it's celebrated by Richard Stallman.)

Screen grooming.  A most underrated activity. - hairy_hen

 

The mic was in picture!

^_^

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Used to be some of the old Rankin-Bass shows, A Christmas Story, and, of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas, along with Home Alone and whatever other holiday movies we caught. It was awesome.

Now that the family has started to fracture and there's so much distance between everybody, it's a lot less fun. Hopefully it'll get better, though!

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

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I'd like to know more about "Secret Santa" and why his gifts are so rubbish.

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Hey, you forgot about the Winter-demon Perchta! Here in America, children who don't behave are put on Santa's "naughty list" and might receive coal in their stockings. In Austria, naughty children can expect Perchta to slice open their bellies around Christmastime and rip out their internal organs. (I'm not making this up!)

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That is awesome to hear.  Just to be clear, I only named those I found most interesting.  There are so many other characters out there, including frightening ones like Perchta (whom I'd never heard of before).  Odin is also real and another predecessor to Santa.  I'm not to sure about Bingo's other characters ;)

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Bingo mixes truth with his lies. This is pretty interesting, let's see how comprehensive a list we can get.

 

 

 

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http://www.krampus.com/

Wish I had known about the Krampus when I was a kid. It would have eased my post Halloween depression. What I'd give to see Krampus spread holiday cheer in the local mall. ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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^I was about to comment that after hearing about Perchta, Krampus doesn't seem so bad...

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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On Kwanzaa, it's the opposite: a guy comes to your house and takes your TV.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

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I'm not allowed to celebrate Christmas - after all, it's a pagan holiday centered around an elderly child molester that's been adopted and modified by counterfeit Christianity to win half-converted heathens into the fold. Christ wasn't even born in the winter months, anyway; even if He had been, Christ never told us to celebrate His birthday, and, really, if Christ is silent on an issue, He's really against it. And don't you know "Christmas" is just short for "Christ massacre", that - when you get right to the bottom of things - the holiday really celebrates the death of Christ?

Makes you think, don't it?

Divergent Universes
Dreams of a Randy Git-Fiend

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I'm assuming DuracellEnergizer is joking, because aside from the obviously incorrect statements, those that are more accurate were framed in a rather demeaning way.  But just so everyone knows, I will clarify one thing, and that is the root of the meaning of Christmas: it comes from Christ Mass, as in the Catholic worship service centered on Christ.  The rest I'm guessing is a mockery of Jehovah's Witnesses, though I'm not positive.

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The Christ Mass was just a Mass said on Dec 25th.

Most of the traditions associated with 'the season' are pagan.

Either Northern European (stockings, presents, tree, mistletoe, holly, money hidden in food) Mediterranean (drinking to extreme, class/gender reversal, singing for food,) or the Orient (mummers plays, morris dancing,dates, crackers with fortunes).

The whole nativity narrative is stolen from Buddhism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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Yes, I understand that.  That does not make it a pagan holiday.  Plagiarism on some level is a part of our everyday lives.  We adopt old cultural customs and continue them for thousands of years (just think about shaking hands--that certainly isn't a genetically programmed form of greeting), we reuse stories, we develop writing systems and languages based on existing forms.  Those who think that it's terrible to celebrate Christmas because it has adopted pagan roots should similarly dispose of the Roman alphabet, which developed long before Christianity was adopted and evolved from previous pagans.

And Bingowings, I know your favorite hobby here is to play devil's advocate at every turn, but to say something was "stolen" is an oversimplification--there are concepts and theories of much of today's Abrahamic religions that many things were adopted from previously established religious ideas.  To the faithful, those ideas are parallels, but not the origin.  Heck, even from a purely secular standpoint, it's not nearly so simple.

Anyway, I'd like to discuss Christmas, regardless of worldview.  I don't feel like arguing about it.