At the heart of symbolism

Santa Claus and Father Christmas


Father Christmas, a colourful symbol

The legend

Santa Claus legend has spread all over the Christian world, from east to west and, particularly, in the northern part of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Commonly celebrated on the 6th December, he used to distribute sweets and delicacies and, more recently, toys to children.

The Santa Claus legend's notoriety was so great that it gave birth, in the 17th century, to another character who became even more famous, Father Christmas. How did Santa Claus open the way to him ? What are his origins ? What is he symbolizing ? This is what we will try to clear up hereafter.

As a representative of the spiritual authority, Santa Claus is not only dispensing good words, but also blessings taking the appearance of sweets destined for children. A role taken back by another character of the “secular” world. Through his circumpolar region and Nordic tradition origins, Father Christmas conveys in fact very old symbols.

Travelling through the sky on his sledge pulled by reindeers, he goes into the homes down the chimneys, the communication axis par excellence between Heaven and Earth, celestial (red) and terrestrial (green) fires. The gifts are meant for little and great beings as innocents as the old man white beard. The sack full of presents recalls the horn of plenty with its mouth upwards common to many traditions. The shoes under the tree and the stockings hanging on the chimney are nothing else than horns of plenty to be filled by the Gods. Putting a single shoe or stocking means getting out of duality proper to the manifested world and move towards the One, the unique at the origin of everything and receive the most beautiful of all the gifts, the ability to live the present.

Even if Father Christmas has supplanted Santa Claus in Protestant countries, he is still called Santa Claus in most of them. Symbols never die, only so-called human beings do.

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