Holy days, days of joy, especially for children who are longing for thegifts that their favorite saint will bring them. Some children get their gifts too early, others …too late! Let’s meet some saints of the world and their habits:
Brazil – Papai Noel
The Brazilian Santa Claus is called Papai Noel and they say that he lives in Greenland. From there he starts his journey to deliver gifts to the children on Christmas Day.
Japan – Hoteiosho
Japan’s holiday gift-giver is a fat Buddhist monk. Some say he travels with a red-nosed reindeer and some say he works alone. Christmas in Japan is a motive for the families to do some charity work, while on New Year’s Eve, the real action begins: the house is cleaned and decorated, the family members throw beans for good luck and await their gifts from the benevolent monk.
Argentina – The Magi
In Argentina gifts arrive with some days of delay, as the Magi with gifts come in the evening, on January 5th. The children place their shoes either outside the house or under the Christmas tree, hoping to get the gift of their dreams. They reciprocate in advance the generosity of the Magi by leaving them some milk and cookies on the table. They do not forget either the horses of the Magi who struggle all night and so they leave them some hay and water outside the house.
In Luxembourg, Saint Nicholas (Kleeschnen is the name in Luxemburgish) comes very early in the houses to leave his presents in children’s shoes… on his name day eve, i.e. on December 5th. The custom requests from the children to deposit a treat for the weary saint, as well for his poor donkey.
Russia – Ded Moroz
Ded Moroz which translated means Grandfather Frost, never goes anywhere without his granddaughter Sengurochka, Snow Girl. Together, they hand out gifts on New Year’s Eve, riding on a sleigh pulled by three white horses (named… troika!).
Dutch Santa Claus looks more like a pope and he usually hangs out with a guy named Black Peter (Zwarte Piet). He takes a steamboat over to Holland from Spain in mid-November. He then has three whole weeks to deliver his gifts to the children, flying over the roofs by his white horse and dropping them down the houses’ chimneys.
Fill your mind with hope and your heart with love …it’s good for you!