Without a doubt the great protagonist of Christmas is Santa Claus, who He left the North Pole in his sleigh loaded with gifts to distribute to every home in the world where it is expected.
Santa’s first stop was the island of Kiribati, also known as “Christmas Island”, in the Central Pacific Ocean. Then he continued his journey through the rest of the nearby archipelagos and thus advanced westward, bringing joy to each place.
Despite the fact that the religious meaning of this date reminds us of the birth of Jesus as the redeemer of Christians. Cultural changes have given way to the emergence of new emotionally charged traditions and characters that inspire moments of joy.
This is how Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus or Father Christmas, as this pot-bellied and bearded character is also known, became the central figure of these parties.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
We already know that Santa is not alone, we know about their elves and their magical reindeer. A whole team of assistants who They are in charge of making the night of each December 24th magical for every boy or girl who believes.
Although Santa is the only one who has the difficult task of traveling the world in one night, some countries have developed their own leading figures who are in charge of the task of handing out gifts during Christmas.
In Latin American countries, cultural mixes have given way to the celebration of Christmas holidays with different elements.
That is how The traditional Christmas tree coexists with the manger or nativity scene, a representation made with great splendor in places like Venezuela, Colombia or Ecuador.
Also in these countries the religious sense of the date of December 25 has been preserved. Because the children wait for the Child Jesus. Although Santa is not left out, it is the newborn Christ himself who is in charge of distributing gifts in homes.
THE CHINESE SANTA
This is how in China, Santa Claus is known as “The Old Man of Christmas”. This character also wears red. He wears a traditional Chinese costume with patterns characteristic of oriental culture and a cylindrical hat.
This old man, a few pounds lighter than Santa, has a long beard and mustaches. Places treats and toys in muslin stockings that Christian Chinese children leave hanging before going to sleep.
THE RUSSIAN GRANDFATHER
In Russia, Santa is known as “Ded Moroz” and he is the character in charge of distributing illusion among Russian children. It is also called “grandfather of the snow.” He is accompanied by his niece “Snegúrochka” or “Snow Maiden”.
Unlike Santa Claus, who lives at the North Pole, this particular grandfather resides in the town of Veliky Ustyug and distributes gifts on the night of December 31 at New Years hours in a sleigh that is pulled by horses.
ITALY AND THE WITCH BEFANA
Legend has it that the Three Wise Men on their way through Italy, asked him for help to find the way to a witch. The woman refused to assist them and later repented.
Since then Twelfth Night distributes sweets, Christmas gifts and a lot of excitement to Italian children. Although in some cases it can also leave charcoal, to those children who behaved appropriately during the last year.
La Befana is a typical figure of Italian folklore. Its name derives from the word epiphany.
Whether it is Santa, in any of its versions, the Befana or the Child Jesus, Christmas is a special date that gathers families around the world to celebrate. A unique moment that makes us forget the difficulties and connect with the traditions and joy of childhood.