How does he manage to bring gifts to all the children around the world? Find out and solve our riddle.
You could say Santa is a number one popstar, nearly everyone has heard of him and his red robes. And I think every child who visited by him, has one important question: How does he manage to bring gifts to all the children around the world? Even with a little Christmas magic and his reindeer – that can’t be possible, right? Well, he has a lot of colleagues! And they come in all sizes and shapes. As a part-time Christmas elf, I even had the chance to meet one or two of them (they seem to be a bit peculiar but very nice nonetheless…). So, let me tell you about the gift-bringers around the world.
I have one or two promises to keep here so let’s start off with Catalonian Christmas. Do you remember “the pooper”, the little figurine from the Nativity scene? Here is somewhat of an addition: In Catalonian Christmas season children take care of a log that is typically placed on the table and decorated with a red hat and a face. They cover him with a blanket and feed him treats every day. On Christmas Eve, the children beat the log with a stick to get him to “poop” out presents (which the parents stealthily put beneath the blanket covering the log… but psst). According to this tradition, it is called Caga Tío which means pooping log.
Along the lines of promises, I also have mentioned Iceland’s Yule lads earlier. After the story about the Christmas cat, I definitely want to tell you about the Yule lads. You could say these Christmas kobolds are a bit like 13 little Santas. On 12th December they start descending from the mountains, one on every day. Then they start leaving in the same order they have arrived, until all are gone on 6th January. Originally, they brought mischief and havoc but they have grown to be gift-bringers over the years. While naughty children get nothing but rotten potatoes, they leave presents and treats for well-behaved kids. However, their names still remember their former profession as they are named things like Window Peeper, Door Slamer and Bowl Licker.
Let’s stay in Scandinavia for a moment and take a look at Finland. Here, Joulopukki is bringing gifts on Christmas Eve. Joulopukki is an addition to the List of Christmas animals as it translates to Yule Goat. No one is entirely sure where the goat comes from, but a theory suggests it is based on the god Thor with his goat-driven chariot. As a part of early celebrations, a goat-like demon made its way from house to house, demanding leftovers and gifts. But today Santa and the Yule Goat seem to collaborate and Joulopukki is a man much like Santa who brings Christmas gifts.
Not far off from Finland in Russia (and many other Slavic countries) Father Frost and the Snowmaiden, better known as Ded Moroz and Snegurochka, come to visit for Christmas. Pre-dating Christianity Father Frost was known as a wizard or even a demon of winter. According to the stories he was not much of a nice man. But much like the tales in other countries, that has changed over time. Today he travels around accompanied by the Snowmaiden and brings gifts to the children. Although they are on their way throughout the entire Christmas season, New Year’s Eve is their most important date. And if they are not at work, they are known to have their home in Russia.
I am looking for a word, that could describe the Avengers or you and your friends just as well as the Ninja Turtles or Sherlock and Mr. Watson… _ _ _ _
On the night of 5th January, an elderly woman rides on her Broom through the skies above Italy. She brings little treats and presents to children as a part of the Epiphany festival. Sounds like a Christmas witch, right? Her real name is La Befana and technically she is not a classic witch. She originates from the Italian version of the story of the three kings whom she eventually accompanied (she did not want to go in the first place but had a change of heart). La Befana doesn’t only bring gifts, traditionally she also sweeps or cleans up a bit which resembles the cleaning out of the last year and making space for the new one.
Los Reyes Magos
In Spain (largely, since we have talked about the poop log earlier…) the three kings bring gifts themselves. In Spain they are known as Los Reyes Magos. They come, just like La Befana, on January 5th and fill the shoes of children with gifts. Besides the shoes families often leave a bit of water and hay for the camels of the three Kings outside. Some places also organise a parade in which the Reyes Magos participate.
While some may say gifts are just part of the celebration to please children or to boost the market, I find that gifts are a wonderful way of showing your love. Of course, they are not the only thing that matters, but a carefully selected present brings joy to the giving and the receiving person!
It’s been four weeks full of random Christmas knowledge and since Advent is getting to an end, so is this calendar. ( For the better probably, I have started to babble about Christmas fun facts at everyone near me…) I hope you had fun reading, riddling and learning a bit.
Good luck with the prize draw, have a wonderful day and in the end… Merry Christmas!
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