The holidays and their traditions are a great time of year, but what about the holiday myths that surround them? Most are well-known, yet little is known about the origins of such widely accepted traditions. Everyone enjoys a good story, and here are four stories that interpret some of the most well-known holiday legends.
4 Holiday Myths
- Santa Claus
Everyone has heard of Old St. Nicholas, but the background behind his legend is one of the lesser-known truths surrounding his existence or non-existence. Holiday Myths of Santa Claus is now shown as a happy man with a white beard, a red coat, and a bottomless red sack full of goodies, which he distributes to good boys and girls on Christmas Eve.
Saint Nicholas, believe it or not, once walked the world as the patron saint of children, but that was in the third century. Due to his charity, St. Nicholas became the central figure in many subsequent legends. Hundreds of years later, in 18th century New York, a Dutch figure known as Sinter Klaus emerged. This name became well-known once it was transformed into Santa Claus in popular culture in the United States. Now, who do we owe the childish idea of a man flying around on a magical sleigh giving presents that we have in our heads?
- Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny’s origins are unknown, but numerous holiday myths give theories. According to one popular theory, the connection between bunnies and Easter dates back to the 5th century, when Ostara, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, was always accompanied by a rabbit signifying fertility at every Ostara festival, a celebration held at the start of spring, according to History.
The Ostara Festival featured bunnies and eggs, and Christians began to adopt the festival’s traditions in an attempt to Christianize it. According to History, they saw the egg as a symbol of fertility and Jesus’ resurrection.
- Jack Frost
According to a classic Scandinavian tale, Jack is an elf dubbed Jokul Frosti, which means Icicle Frost, by the Norse Vikings. Jack is reported to sneak into towns late at night and make lovely frost designs on the windows and over the winter leaves and grass, demonstrating his artistic virtuosity. Even though the legend of Jack Frost has nothing to do with Christianity, he is frequently depicted in modern secular Christmas entertainment events, often as a part of Santa Claus’s entourage. Jack Frost is a sinister mischief-maker who appears frequently in literature, cinema, television, songs, and video games.
Rudolph was a valued reindeer for Santa. He wasn’t an average reindeer, and despite being teased about his red nose, his family and friends didn’t think he was an embarrassment. According to legend, Rudolph was born into a well-to-do household and grew up to be a responsible reindeer concerned about his self-esteem. The selection of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Santa Claus has a fascinating backstory. While delivering gifts across town, Santa saw a red light coming from one of the houses. He accidentally ran into Rudolph and decided that if it hadn’t been for Rudolph’s guiding light from his nose, Santa Claus may have been involved in an accident while driving his sleigh. Santa chose Rudolph to be a part of his team and to lead the way back to the North Pole after finishing his rounds.
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