Friday, December 19, 2008

Father Christmas - Around the World

With the holidays nearly here, I thought some of our readers might appreciate this site, called Saint Nicholas: Around the World. It offers a wondrous compendium of Christmas folk traditions and global variants (primarily Catholic ones) on Father Christmas -- just click on one of the national flags to read about how the old Gift-Giver appears in the traditions of that country.

A more diverse list of Christmas traditions can be found here.

From Russia:
Babushka is a traditional Christmas figure who distributes presents to children. Her name means Grandmother and the legend is told that she declined to go with the wise men to see Jesus because of the cold weather. However, she regretted not going and set off to try and catch up, filling her basket with presents. She never found Jesus, and that is why she visits each house, leaving toys for good children.

From Wales:
Caroling is called eisteddfodde and is often accompanied by a harp. In some rural areas a villager is chosen to be the Mari Ilwyd. This person travels around the town draped in white and carrying a horse's skull on a long pole. Anyone given a 'bite' by the horse's jaws must pay a fine.

Enjoy the reading, and have a beautiful holiday season --


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