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Author Topic: Other Santies  (Read 378 times)

JayzusB.Christ

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Other Santies
« on: 14 December, 2019, 11:30:36 am »
Yesterday was my first day off in a month or so (this being by far my busiest time) and for some reason I spent it listening to documentaries about Christmas traditions from other countries.

Really fascinating stuff - Father Christmas / Santa Claus (though always 'Santy' to Irish kids) is so baked into our culture that we forget there are very different, and equally popular, gift-bringers and child-punishers only a few countries away.  Most of us know about the Krampus and the possibly-racist Black Peter,  but I hadn't realised just how important La Befana the witch was to Italian kids, each of whom get a piece of rock-candy coal with their other presents because nobody's perfect.

Catalan kids can't fail to believe in the arrival of the Three Magi with their presents, because they watch it happen in a big parade.  The kings' pages put ladders against balconies and climb into people's homes with presents.

The German Christkind (a winged woman for some reason) seems a bit dull to me (introduced by Reformation types because Santa was technically a saint), but by far my favourite gift-bringers are Iceland's Yule Lads, 13 mad trolls who each have weird idiosyncrasies (one steals candles to eat the tallow, for example) and have to be rewarded for their gift-bringing or they'll fecking kill you and eat you.

I always loved the Santa Claus myth and its evolution from Odin, St Nicholas, Father Christmas etc, but now I feel deprived because a witch or thirteen mountain trolls never visited me when I was wee.
« Last Edit: 14 December, 2019, 11:32:10 am by JayzusB.Christ »
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

TordelBack

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Re: Other Santies
« Reply #1 on: 14 December, 2019, 05:59:19 pm »
... now I feel deprived because a witch or thirteen mountain trolls never visited me when I was wee.

How do you know they didn't? For all you know Santy isn't real* and it was the Yule Lads who left that 1981 Dredd annual all along.


*As if.

rogue69

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Re: Other Santies
« Reply #2 on: 14 December, 2019, 06:27:45 pm »
 According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children. In some places he arrives later, for example in Ochagavía – Otsagabia on the 27th and in Ermua on the 31st.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olentzero

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Other Santies
« Reply #3 on: 14 December, 2019, 07:58:22 pm »
... now I feel deprived because a witch or thirteen mountain trolls never visited me when I was wee.

How do you know they didn't? For all you know Santy isn't real* and it was the Yule Lads who left that 1981 Dredd annual all along.


*As if.

Look, don't get me wrong: I know Santy is real. I paint the jolly bastard's portrait countless times every winter and he makes me enough money to buy presents for everyone.  Nobody else has supported me so much at a time when extra cash is needed. 

Loving this Olentzero stuff!  Last few years for me involved looking up Christmas traditions of the past (the Lord of Misrule wins it for me) but this year has been finding surviving traditions which have been fascinating too.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Other Santies
« Reply #4 on: 05 January, 2020, 08:29:10 pm »
La Befana and the Three Kings are coming round with presents tonight.  Hope you left your stockings up.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

rogue69

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Re: Other Santies
« Reply #5 on: 08 January, 2020, 09:14:44 pm »
In Bavaria, it is a witch called Perchta who traditionally comes at Christmas to see if children have been naughty or nice. If they’ve been bad, she disembowels them and fills them with straw.


JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Other Santies
« Reply #6 on: 08 January, 2020, 09:29:37 pm »
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”