Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. Since many of these elements are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Santa Claus.

Odin was sometimes recorded, at the native Germanic holiday of Yule, as leading a great hunting party through the sky. Two books from Iceland, the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, describe Odin as riding an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir that could leap great distances, giving rise to comparisons to Santa Claus's reindeer. Further, Odin was referred to by many names in Skaldic poetry, some of which describe his appearance or functions; these include Síðgrani, Síðskeggr, Langbarðr, (all meaning "long beard") and Jólnir ("Yule figure").
According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy. This practice survived in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization and can be still seen in the modern practice of the hanging of stockings at the chimney in some homes.
This practice in turn came to the United States through the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam prior to the British seizure in the 17th century, and evolved into the hanging of socks or stockings at the fireplace.
In Hungary, many regions of Austria and former Austro-Hungarian Italy (Friuli, city of Trieste) children are given sweets and gifts on Saint Nicholas's Day (San Niccolò in Italian), in accordance with the Catholic calendar, December 6.
Numerous other influences from the pre-Christian Germanic winter celebrations have continued into modern Christmas celebrations such as the Christmas ham, Yule Goat, Yule logs and the Christmas tree.
Source ; Wikipedia
HO HO HO....
A Blythe Yule an a Guid Hogmanay!


Benikos place said...

Merry Christmas and a happy new year

Lucy Corrander said...

Hello Richard. Thank you for your Christmas (Yule!) wishes on my blog. I'm entertained by the idea that you have gone 'all Scottish'!

This is interesting about Odin and the shoes. I shall be telling everyone about it now!

Have a very good 2010.

Your header is beautiful.


Adrian LaRoque said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family. Enjoy the season!

Anonymous said...

Hello Richard we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Best wishes from Julie and Keith

joo said...

Hi Richard!
My best wishes Merry Christmas to you - stay warm and relaxed and keep taking such beautiful photos:)

Sergio López said...

I say the same, happy holidays!

kyungmee said...

Richard, thank you for the flikr comment..beautiful images!!! Are they yours? No? Have a wonderful Christmas!