It's crunch time folks, Santa is on his way. Have you been naughty or nice? In case you want to get some last minute good deeds in, the folks at Google have given us the Santa Tracker, so you can see where he is right now.
Santa himself is a combination of a number of myths and legends—Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, Saint Nicholas, Myra (Greek bishop and gift-giver) and has even become associated with elements of Odin who leads the midwinter, ghostly procession through the sky of the Wild Hunt and is associated with the Germanic tradition of Yule. I thought I'd take you through a few of these, just in case the big guy himself crosses your path this Christmas Eve and you need a conversation starter.
Father Christmas dates to 16th century England and the reign of Henry VIII. He (Father Christmas, not Henry) became the symbol of Chrismas cheer, peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry. As England no longer kept the feast day of St. Nicholas (December 6th), the Father Christmas celebration was moved to Christmas Day. He was depicted as a large man in green or red fur-lined robes.
Saint Nicholas of Myra, a famous 4th-century Greek Christian bishop, brought in the element of gift giving. The original St. Nick is reputed to have given generously to poor, and on one occasion even provided dowries to three girls to prevent them from having to become prostitutes. He wears the more traditional bishops garb and is often portrayed in those and bearded.
His name day has been celebrated since the middle ages. The evening before the 6th of December children were given gifts in his honor. This later changed to merge with December 25th, Christmas. Martin Luther spread the idea of making children, and not the saints, the focus of the day.
That brings us to the Dutch/Belgian Sinterklaas. Still today, Sinterklaas is the primary gift giver in the Netherlands. The difference being that Sinterklaas day is primarily about children, while Christmas day is for anyone to receive gifts.
And finally, Odin. In Germanic mythology, the wild hunt is a procession of ghosts through the sky, and the leader of that is often Odin. He is also known by the Old Norse names Jólnir (yule figure) and Langbarðr (long beard)
There you have it, a brief snapshot of the man himself. Which leaves all there is for me to say is...
Oh, and your final piece of the puzzle.
So how do you go about standing a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card? It’s really very simple.
Fred the Basset is the unofficial Romance Writers Weekly mascot. We’ll tell you the story of how that came about one day. In this special advent game he is functioning as a place holder for a missing word. Each time you see Fred, it means a word goes there.
What word you ask?
That’s where you come in. Every day we will give you a new clue to fill in another word in Fred’s Advent Puzzle. When you have replaced all the Freds, you just send your completed word puzzle by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The words make up an Irish Blessing, from us to you over this Festive Season. If you know the Blessing, please feel free to send it early.
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3 Closing date for entry will be 31stDecember 2015. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
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8 Winners will be chosen 1st January 2016.