This is what Father Christmas is called in other European countries

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Friday 25 December 2020 09:44
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Picture:(Jakub Marian/Jakubmarian.com)

The 'gift bringer' is what our future utilitarian world will call Father Christmas, but until that ordered utopia arrives, Europeans will have to settle for calling Santa by a plethora of names.

Multiple myths have grown up around the pagan festival that was co-opted into Christianity.

One associates mid-December with an everlasting bearded man with magic powers and a charitable if judgemental nature.

Another myth is that of Father Christmas.

A version of the great gift giver exists in most European countries, but by names which are tellingly different.

Is Santa committing fraud? Maybe that's how he affords gifts for near 6 billion humans. It's all on credit cards. It could end, but Santa is too big to fail.

Linguist-come-cartographer Jakub Marian has created this excellent map of all of the names by which Santa Claus is known in Europe.

The extent of this crook's multiple identities can be seen here, in a tell-all map.

Variations on Father Christmas are common, such as Spain's Papa Noel (Daddy Christmas), Turkey's Noel Baba (Christmas Father), and Romania's Moș Crăciun (Old Man Christmas).

Central European countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia call him 'Ježíšek' (Baby Jesus).

Poland, Greece, Finland, and Iceland have unique names for the red suited gent.

Saint Nicholas and Saint Basil are the pseudonyms used in Poland and Greece respectively, whereas Iceland (known for its banter) celebrates the 25th with Jólasveinar literally translating as Christmas Lads/Yule Lads.

Although Finland has adopted the edict of the Coca Cola countries by portraying Father Christmas as a human, their name for him remains Joulupukki - Christmas Goat.

Of note is also the Catalan Tió de Nadal (Christmas log/trunk), which by tradition is placed in the fire and ordered to 'defecate'. Tió is popularly referred to as 'poo log' or 's****ing' log.

So a weird Christmas for everyone.

Let's not even go into Black Peter again.

This article was originally published in 2017.

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