By Megan Luckiw
From a holly jolly man who rides around on reindeer to a demonic goat who abuses bad children, here are the different Santas around the world.
- The Netherlands- Sinterklaas
Sinterklaas rides into town on a white horse. He wears a red bishop hat with jeweled staff. Unlike the United States Santa Claus, Sinterklaas is nice enough to knock on your door instead of breaking entry. However, a not so nice thing about him is his companion, Grumpus, who shakes chains at naughty children and threatens to kidnap them.
- Spain- Los Reyes Magos (In English the Three Wise Men).
In Hispanic cultures the three wise men come to the children’s houses with gifts. However, they children don’t just get gifts just because they are good. They leave out shoes and treats (of course) for the wise men (Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar), in return for presents. They days leading up to El Dia de Reyes the children will often write letters to their favourite wise men. The three wise men ride on camels to visit children but also in the bible when they reached baby Jesus.
- Finland- Yule Goat.
This used to be the Finland Santa before they switched over to the more traditional American Santa Claus. However, this version of Santa is kind of the complete opposite of the Santa we know and love. Instead of giving presents to good children the Yule Goat knocks on doors demanding for gifts and leftovers from the Yuletide feasts. Well, at least that what he used to do. Nowadays, he still knocks on doors but instead he says, Are there any well- behaved children here?” If there are he hands out presents. He also pulls around a sleigh with reindeer on it that actually fly.
- Catalonia- Tio De Nadal or Uncle from Nadal.
This is a log that defecates presents. Yes I am serious. He has a painted on smile and is often placed underneath the Christmas tree. The children “feed him” nuts and dried up fruit the days leading up to Christmas. He is kept warm underneath a blanket. Now, if you think that this is all cute and innocent… it’s not. On Christmas Eve the children hit poor Tio with sticks and sing a rather graphic song about bodily functions. The next morning the children will see that Tio defecated a bunch of presents and treats under the tree.
- Iceland- Yule Lads.
The Yule Lads are thirteen mischievous elves that play tricks on children. One of the elves named Pottasleiki will steal your leftovers. While one of the others, Gryla, will kidnap misbehaved children. On the thirteen days leading up to Christmas the children will place their shoes in the windowsill. If you were good you will receive candies and small gifts. However, if you were bad then you will receive rotten potatoes in your shoes.
- Germany- Krampus
Krampus is a character you find in nightmares. He has fangs and horns and he yells at children. Krampus (coming from the German word Krampen- meaning claw) is half goat half demon. He was created as an evil counterpart to jolly ol Saint Nick. Krampus would whip bad children and take them to his lair. Children on December 6 go to their shoes to look at what they got. If the children were good they will receive presents. If they were bad then they would get a rod. However, this isn’t used as much because they thought it would scare children too much. Nowadays, in some households they just use the United States Santa… but, in other household drunken men dress up as devils and do Krampus like actions such as chasing people around the street. I’m guessing there were some very good children in Germany.