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Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'

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ALLSOULS NIGHT
LORD OF THE DANCE (PAGAN)
O, SAVE US FROM FAUX PAGANS (Or, Observations at a Renaissance Faire)


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Raedwulf 24 Dec 02 - 07:24 PM
Mudlark 24 Dec 02 - 06:44 PM
Penny S. 24 Dec 02 - 06:06 PM
katlaughing 24 Dec 02 - 04:27 PM
CapriUni 24 Dec 02 - 04:15 PM
katlaughing 24 Dec 02 - 02:55 PM
CapriUni 24 Dec 02 - 02:53 PM
katlaughing 24 Dec 02 - 02:43 PM
CapriUni 24 Dec 02 - 02:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: Raedwulf
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 07:24 PM

Well, the green of Dickens was the normal colour, till Coca-cola invented the red & white ho-ho-ho variety of Santa Claus somwhere round the tail end of the 19thC (@1880ish, IIRC).

More to the point, as any fule kno (sic), most of the 'christmas' traditions are christian theft from paganism - "we can't stamp their faith out so we'll just pinch all their symbolism & justify it as best we can..."

The Yule tree, the Yule log, the date (contrary to the suggestion in another thread, I have read somewhere that jc's birthdays is actually proven to be September (not April), according to Roman census records), & so on & so forth; none of 'em are christian at all.

I was rather amused by a piece on the BBC website concerning an argument in Canada where a 'christmas' tree was (allegedly) renamed by the city council as a 'holiday' tree so as not to offend anyone. Of course, this offended practically everyone... *bg* The irony, inevitably, is that it's not a 'christmas' tree at all, but blatant pagan symbolism...

Waes thu hael & a happy Yule!


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: Mudlark
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 06:44 PM

Thanks, CU, for a different and pleasing aspect of what was surely a pagan holiday long before saints hit the scene. I've always loved the idea of The Green Man. Having a wintery version is perfect.

And the old idea of Black Peter, associated w/St. Nick, is in keeping, as well: good and bad, treats and tricks, cool or coal...those pagans had a firm hold on reality!


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: Penny S.
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 06:06 PM

But they do have St Nicholas in the Netherlands, with a rather odd dark creature called Black Peter, I think. So there is a connection with the Dutch. He goes round in a bishop's gear.

Whereas Father Christmas, as portrayed in Dickens, at anyrate, is a very pagan character, in voluminous green robes, much akin to the Green Knight, and jolly, but overwhelming. So there is something there of the Green Man idea.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 04:27 PM

Yeah, I know, was just free-associating there fur for a minute.*bg* And, of course all the mold and mildew deserves merriment, just not on my walls and in my closets! Ho, ho, ho...bah

                              
~~~~~~~~~~~!!
))))))))))))))))))

hummmmmmmmmbug

Really, I love this green man in the winter idea. Thanks, again.:-)


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 04:15 PM

"Furry" green man somehow conjures up memories of back East mold and mildew in my house...nature's bounty?!**BG**

Well, from the mold's point of view, sure! Why Not? Don't they have a right to bountiful merriment, too? ;-)

Though, actually, the "furry" in this case refers to animal furs, as in that line from "A Visit From Saint Nicholas":

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot

The "Pelz" in Pelznichol stems from the same root as "pelt".


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 02:55 PM

LOL...I knew I liked him for some reason! "Furry" green man somehow conjures up memories of back East mold and mildew in my house...nature's bounty?!**BG**


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 02:53 PM

Yes -- a furry green man.

And speaking of "Green Men", she also points to that commerical icon "The Jolly Green Giant" as a fellow descendant of the Wild Man: The personificaton of the bounty of the Earth (Note that he, too, says: "Ho, ho, ho!") ::Mischievous Grin::


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Subject: RE: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 02:43 PM

Absolutely beautiful, CU! Sort of a wintery green man. Thank you so much.

kat


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Subject: Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus'
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Dec 02 - 02:13 PM

A few years ago, I came upon a wonderful little book in my public library called Santa Claus, Last of the Wild Men by Phyllis Siefker, in which she makes the following arguments:

1) Contrary to popular American Folklore, the American version of Santa Claus was not imported by the Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (Later, New York). Those settlers were Protestant, and wouldn't have touched a saint with a ten foot pole, unless maybe they wanted to beat him up with it... The association of "Saint Nicholas" with the American Dutch came about in the aftermath of the Revolution, when different social-political clubs rose up centered around various "home" cultures... the Scottish settlers had the "Saint Andrews" society, the Welsh, "Saint David's"... and the Duch had "Saint Nicholas's"

2) That the first appearance on American soil of a jovial, noise-making, raucus, midnight visitor who distributed gifts to children (if they'd been good, that is) was brought in by the German settlers to Pensylvania, in the figure of Pelznichol (or "Furry Nicholas")

3) that if you trace the various cultural influences that created Pelznichol back to their source, you would find the ancient Pagan figure of the Wild Man -- the personification in human form of the wild forces of Nature itself -- capable of emmense generosity and bounty, but also of terrible, terrifying power. And indeed, Ms. Siefker recounts some of the earliest Christmas traditions and beliefs that seem to us to belong more in the season of Halloween than Christmas: That if the children were good, they would be given toys and treats, but if they were bad, they'd be put into that great sack, and carried away until next Christmas, or worse -- eaten. (When I first read the discriptions of these practices, I was horrified -- but then I remembered how much modern kids enjoy being scared by monsters at Halloween, and I imagine that the kids of our ancestors were not much different).

In any case, this all got me thinking: If "Santa Claus" is really a personification of Nature itself, it puts a whole new spin on the Naughty vs. Nice thing.

So "Santa Claus" really can see you when you're sleeping, and knows when you're awake, because he is everywhere the wind blows -- in the rocks and rivers, and laughing in the branches of the trees. But, really, I dont think he cares so much whether or not you cry or pout or shout now and then, but whether you're kind, and generous, and of good humor in the face of adversity, whether or not, in other words, you participate in the cycle of give and take or whether you try and stop the cycle by keeping everything for yourself...

So, like that Fraggle Rock* song says:

"When it's nice and bright,
And it brings delight,
Let your heart choose right,
Gotta pass it on.

When it rolls real good,
Like a rollie should,
Then it's understood,
Gonna pass it on."

*(From Episode 76 -- The Pefect Blue Rollie, first aired February 17, 1986, written by David Young)


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