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10 Legends of Santa from Around The World

TOP 10 SaNta LegeNdS FROM AROUND THE WORLD The tradition of children receiving gifts during the month of December is relatively the same no matter where you go in the world, but the character that brings the gifts can vary quite a bit from country to country. .............................. 10. THE YULE LADS The Yule lads, or Yulemen, are a group of thirteen mischievous creatures that have ICELAND largely taken the place of Santa Claus in the Icelandic celebration of Christmas. SLAM GIFT-GIVING STYLE Accompanied by the Yuletide Cat, which is described as a hungry beast that is known to eat bad children, they place small gifts in the shoes of well-behaved kids in the thirteen nights leading up to Christmas Eve. Naughty children, meanwhile, are given potatoes. 9. TOMTE SCANDINAVIAN The Tomte legend can be found in Scandinavian countries like Norway, Finland, and Sweden. In their earliest incamations, the Tomte (also known as Nisse) were said to be small, gnomish characters that kept watch over family farms. Sweden Finland A Norway 00 GIFT-GIVING STYLE ........................ In some regions, children are told the character lives in the woods just outside their house. Also unique is that although the Tomte brings gifts to kids, he doesn't sneak in the house through the chimney at night. Instead, a parent or relative will dress up like the character and bring the gifts to the kids in person. 8. CHRISTKIND PARTS OF: Literally meaning "the Christ Child," Christkind is a holiday gift-giver associated with different parts of the world where Christianity is the main religion. Since he is supposed to literally be the baby Jesus, Christkind is usually depicted as a small, saintly child with blond hair and the wings of an angel. Brazil Italy Austria Germany GIFT-GIVING STYLE ....................... Unlike many holiday gift-givers, the Christkind is never actually seen. Gifts are exchanged to honor the spirit of the Magi bringing gifts to the baby Jesus, but POOP Christkind himself doesn't ever make an appearance, and children are often told that he disappeared just moments for they arrived. 7. BELSNICKEL COUNTRY Belsnickel is a legendary figure who accompanies Santa Claus in certain regions of Europe. He's usually depicted as a mountain man-style figure with fur covering his body. Unlike Santa, who was designed to be beloved by children, Belsnickel is generally a character to be feared, and in most regions he is employed as a sort of warning to coerce kids into being good. Austria United States Gemany Argentina i GIFT-GIVING STYLE Although Belsnickel generally comes off as a negative figure, in some regions he is also known to give gifts. In Germany, well-behaved kids are given candy and small gifts on Dec. 6, the feast day of St. Nicholas. Naughty children, on the other hand, are given coal or switches. DEC ............................ 6. PERE NOEL & LA PERE FOUETTARD Papa Noel is one of the most popular incarnations of St. Nick, and Pere Noel from France is one of the most famous versions. He resembles Santa FRANCE Claus in appearance, but instead of using reindeer he rides a single donkey called Gui, which means Mistletoe in French. aidez-mooooi! The French also have a character called La Pere Fouettard (The Whipping Father). In the most popular version, it is said that in the 1100s La Pere Fouettard and his wife kidnapped and murdered three young men and then cooked them into a stew. After the victims were discovered and brought back to life by the benevolent St. Nicholas, La Pere Fouettard repented his evil deeds and vowed to serve as his helper. GIFT-GIVING STYLE Like Sinterklaas and many other variations of Santa, Pere Noel places small gifts and candy in shoes left next to the fireplace. La Pere Fouettard, meanwhile, is a little less cheerful. In some versions of the story, he gets even more brutal, and is said to cut out the tongues of kids who've been caught lying. 5. LA BEFANA ITALY Similar to Santa Claus in style but quite different in appearance, the Befana is a witch-like character who has become a big part of yuletide celebrations in Italy. Much like a traditional Halloween witch, the Befana is portrayed as an old hag who rides a broomstick, and she typically wears a black shawl and carries a bag of gifts. .............................. GIFT-GIVING STYLE Like Santa Claus, La Befana supposedly climbs down the chimney to leave gifts for kids, and she also is known to leave behind a piece of coal or ash for those who have been naughty. As the legendary Befana was regarded as the best housekeeper in all of Italy, she also is known to sweep the floor around the chimney on her way out. 4. KRAMPUS COUNTRY In Alpine countries, Santa Claus is roughly the same jolly old gift-giver as he is in North America, with one key difference: he's accompanied by a terrifying, bloodthirsty monster called the Krampus. With a name that derives from the German word for "claw," Krampus serves as the resident heavy of Santa's gang, dishing out beatings and other medieval-style punishments to naughty kids. Austria Germany Hungary GIFT-GIVING STYLE As you can probably tell, gifts aren't really the Krampus's style. In traditional folklore, he was much more likely to provide misbehaving kids with a beating from a birch rod or, if they were lucky, a stern waming. In darker versions of the story, he was even said to kidnap the worst of a town's children, stuff them inside a burlap sack, and toss them in the river. ....................... 3. DED MOROZ & THE SNOW MAIDEN Literally translated as "Grandfather Frost," Ded Moroz is the traditional holiday gift-giver of Slavic countries in Eastern Europe. Like Santa, Ded Moroz wears a flowing red costume and sports a white beard, but he doesn't use reindeer or ride a sleigh. Instead, he drives a troika, which is a traditional Russian horse drawn sled. Also unique to the Ded Moroz legend is his granddaughter Snegurochka, "the Snow Maiden," who is said to accompany him on his trips. COUNTRY Russia Ukraine Bosnia Poland GIFT-GIVING STYLE Ded Moroz typically arrives on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Like Santa, he brings gifts for children and places them under the New Year's tree, although in some versions he will show up at parties and celebrations to give out gifts person. 2. SINTERKLAAS & BLACK PETER Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of Santa Claus. With his traditional red costume, flowing white beard, and all-around jolly demeanor, he closely resembles the more famous North American COUNTRY Santa, and many have claimed that he is the biggest influence in the creation of the modern day Saint Nick. Sinterklaas doesn't use elves, but is instead assisted by Black Peter, a little boy who helps him hand out presents. Netherlands ) Flanders ........................................ GIFT-GIVING STYLE ...................... Sinterklaas brings children gifts on the fifth of December, a holiday designed to celebrate the historical figure of St. Nicholas. He doesn't leave the gifts himself; instead, Black Peter climbs down the chimney with presents for the good kids and coal or bags of salt for those who were naughty. DEC ........................ 1. FATHER CHRISTMAS Along with Sinterklaas, Father Christmas stands as the biggest influence in the creation of the more modern American Santa, and he is still the primary Christmas gift-giver in the holiday legends of several different countries. Early versions of the character from the 1600s depict him as a merry old man clad in a green robe. At the time, he wasn't seen as a gift-giver, but rather as the spirit of good tidings and the joy of the Christmas COUNTRY UK Spain France Italy season. GIFT-GIVING STYLE ................. The modern version of Father Christmas differs very little from Santa Claus in his gift-giving methods. Like Santa, he rides a sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer, and climbs down the chimney to leave behind gifts for nice children. 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10 Legends of Santa from Around The World

shared by milkwhale on Dec 22
A compilation of the most popularly believed Christmas legends from around the world.


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