The American version of Santa goes something like this: a jolly fat guy in a red suit and a red hat, with big white beard rides a magical sleigh aided by a bunch of flying reindeer, and he is able to deliver presents to good children all over the world for just one night, at the time everyone is sleeping. He likes cookies, milk and Coca Cola, and children love him. But does the whole world have the same version of Santa? It seems it doesn’t, so we made a list of 10 most interesting versions of a man who makes good kids’ wishes come true.
1. Sweden, Norway and Denmark
In Nordic folklore there are certain gnomes who are believed to protect farms and farmhouses against bad luck, and their names are Jultomten, Julenissen and Julemanden. Now, they got themselves a new job, where they also deliver presents to children on Christmas. Their residence is North Pole, so we are guessing they are Santa’s neighbors?
Italy’s Santa is a good witch, La Befana, the Yule witch of Italy. She, of course, rides a broom and delivers presents to all the good children during the Feast of the Epiphany, which is on 5th January.
You know who has much of the Christmas spirit in Iceland? The mischievous pranksters of Iceland, named The Yule Lads. This group of 13 elves love to play pranks, but aside from that they do leave candies and toys for the good children.
4. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
Their Santa is called Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost). In Slavic mythology, Ded Moroz was a demonic figure who would kidnap children who would misbehave. But now, he and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow maiden) are delivering presents on the New Year’s Eve. Of course, only to the good children.
5. Germany, Austria and Switzerland
The character of Christkind was created to discourage Protestant followers from praying to saints. It is a female incarnate of Baby Jesus, and she wears a crown and has long blond hair. She leaves presents for the children, and is some kind of an alternative to St. Nicholas.
6. The Czech Republic
Svatý Mikuláš and Ježíšek (St. Nick and Baby Jesus) represent Santa and his little angelic helper in Czech culture. Ježíšek has wings and a halo, and the duo delivers candies and toys to the children.
7. United Kingdom
Unlike American Santa with red suit, Father Christmas wears hooded green cloak and a wreath of holly on his head. His character comes from pagan mythology, and of course brings presents to children.
Spain has three Santa Clauses, named Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar. Spanish children write a letter to their favorite one. Los Reyes Magos (The biblical Magi) are modeled after the Three Wise Men.
Joulupukki is a children-friendly goat who brings presents to good children, but he wasn’t always like that. Like most of the previous Santas, he was evil and in association with a creature that is punishing the children. The Norse god Odin is an association this time, and back in the days, he would knock on doors and demand gifts and leftovers.
During the Spring Festival season (Christmas season), Chinese people was gifted with happiness by Laughing Budda, but Christian children of Chine wait for Dun Che Lao Ren. Similar to American Santa, Chinese one also wears red suit and carries sacks full of presents.