A red suit and a long white bread. Big black boots and a bag full of toys. A giant sleigh pulled b eight flying reindeer. This is the image most Americans --- and now Japanese, too – have of Santa Claus.

 Look at this 1921 Christmas card from Finland. Carrying a pig with a ribbon around its neck seems like a strange thing for Santa to do. Is the pig a gift? It’s hard for us to say. In the next card, from 1941, it’s another pig which is pulling Santa Claus’ sleigh, instead of reindeer. You see, there is more than one way to imagine Santa Claus.
We will never forget waking up to find gifts from Santa. Nowadays, children all over the world believe in Santa, no matter what religion they follow. But in the beginning, it was quite different.

Most historians agree that the original Santa Claus was a Christian bishop named Saint Nicholas, who lived in Turkey in the fourth century. Saint Nicholas was said to be especially kind to children, giving them gold coins. In Scandinavian countries, pigs were thought to symbolize fertility. When the story of Saint Nicholas came to Finland, it was mixed in with their old custom of offering pigs to the gods. In this way, people from different cultures developed various original Saint Nicholas images and legends.

 As time went by, different European cultures added their own touches to the Saint Nicholas story. In 17th century Germany, for example, Saint Nicholas’ Day evolved from a village festival into a family event. They also introduced the idea of the season, the first tree was placed in the living room of an individual home in 1605.

In the Netherlands, children were told that Saint Nicholas flew on a white house, and came down the chimney into the living room. While they were sleeping, he put gifts in their wooden shoes. Scandinavians later added the white fur we now see on his hat and coat. In Britain, Saint Nicholas was given the name Father Christmas, translated from the French “Pére Noël.” The Dutch called him Sinterklaas, from which we got the Americans name Santa Claus.

In 1822 an American named Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” for his children. Here people finally began to imagine Santa Claus as a happy, elderly man in a sleigh led by eight reindeer. In the 1850s, the cartoonist Thomas Nast provided the first images of the “modern” Santa in a series of magazine illustrations. Tracing Santa’s American past is easy; he comes from the words of Moore and the imagination of Nast.



A 回答 (1件)


時が過ぎるとともに、異なるヨーロッパの文化が、独自の感じを聖ニコラスの物語に加えました。例えば、17世紀のドイツでは、聖ニコラスの日は、村祭りから家族の行事へと進化しました。彼らはまた季節の概念も導入しました、最初の木(モミの木:fir tree?)が、1605年に、それぞれの家庭の居間に置かれました。
オランダでは、子供たちは、聖ニコラスは白い家(→馬:horse?)に乗って飛んできて、煙突を伝って今に降りてくるのだと教えられました。子供たちが眠っている間に、彼は、贈り物を彼らの木靴の中に入れたのでした。スカンジナビアの人々は、後に、私たちが今日彼の帽子やコートに目にする白い毛皮を付け加えました。イギリスでは、聖ニコラスは、フランス語の「Pére Noël」から翻訳されたファーザー・クリスマスと言う名がつけられました。オランダ人は、彼をシンテルクラス(Sinterklaas)と呼びました、ここから私たちは、アメリカのサンタクロースと言う名前を得たのでした。

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B5%E3%83%B3% …
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お礼日時:2011/11/15 07:32