LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID

Share
From Mrs Mayke Hogestjin

Sir: Gretchen Mason (letter, 15 December) was closest to the truth in the debate about the origins of Santa Claus. He is, in fact, a mixture of the Dutch Saint Nicholas and the Scandinavian Jul Tomten (Christmas elf).

Saint Nicholas is a bishop from Madrid who has the jolly habit of distributing presents to all Dutch children on the eve of his own birthday on 6 December. The evening of 5 December finds him astride his white stallion (brought with him from Spain aboard his great white steamship) on the roofs of Holland, while his Moor helpers (all called "Black Pete") pop down the chimneys with the presents.

The holy man is hundreds of years old and thus has a long white beard. He is dressed as a bishop should, in long flowing robes, complete with staff and mitre. The predominant colour of his garb is red.

The Jul Tomten was a small elf, clad in grey, who on Christmas eve took care of the farm animals while everyone else was making merry (in short, too drunk to feed the animals themselves). In exchange for his labours, a dish of porridge was put on the steps outside for him.

These two were indeed "married" in the US, the Jul Tomten growing taller and distinctly fatter, and donning Saint Nicholas's colour of garment and long white beard. He also began distributing presents to children.

The reindeer and sled (although typically Scandinavian products) are an American invention and, sadly, the Black Petes have disappeared. Talk about layoffs....

Yours sincerely,

Mayke Hogestjin

Marlow, Buckinghamshire

15 December

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This winner of the best new business in Shrops...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This winner of the best new business in shrops...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Email Marketing Services

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

You don't have to pity Clarkson. But he raises an important point

Simon Kelner
Survivors cling on to debris after the boat they were in ran aground at Zefyros beach in Rhodes on Monday  

All my cousin wanted to do was flee the horrors of Syria, but ended up drowning in the sea

Zena Agha
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders