Santa Claus, a.k.a. Saint Nicholas, is a fraud foisted on us pagans during the Christianization of Germanic and Nordic Europe. There, I said it.
Saint Nicholas, who lived in the late 3rd and early 4th century, belonged to a wealthy family, and is most famous for saving three poor, young sisters from a probable life of probable prostitution, by giving them money for their dowries, and thereby getting them married off. Why a man getting paid off to marry a women doesn’t make the man a hooker beats the hell out of me. But that is neither here nor there. The main point is that Nicholas gave away presents. His birthday is celebrated on January 6th. He was a skinny bugger, apparently, may or may not have had a beard, and certainly didn’t have much hair. His daddy, another priest (This was before the whole priests couldn’t get married, couldn’t have sex, silliness came about), gave him a tonsure when he ordained his little Nicky into the priesthood. A tonsure is the weird, partly shaved head sort of haircut they were into back then.
Old Saint Nick didn’t have diddly to do with December 25th, which was when the old pagan world celebrated the winter solstice. Why they did so on the 25th is a bit of a mystery, since they jolly well knew the solstice oscillates between the 20th and the 23rd. It was probably because the latest sunrise of the year is a couple of days after the actual solstice and, in the winter, you really want that sun to start coming up earlier and earlier. Making it a fixed date made it easier to know when you had to get all your solstice shopping done by, too.
Now, what happened on the solstice, and who did what that most closely resembles what our Santa Claus, taking into consideration that Santa first started showing up in Germanic and Nordic Europe?
The solstice is when Odin, the king of the gods, rode the midwinter sky on his eight footed horse, Sleipnir, distributing gifts to all his people. Odin, Woden, Wotan, also known as Julnir, he who is lord of the yuletide. Odin, with long white hair and long white beard, stout of figure. Odin, the leader of the Wild Hunt, the hunt that most often occurred at midwinter, hunting the souls of the departed, accompanied by his Valkyries.
The good children of Odin got presents, the bad got the Wild Hunt.
Odin was also the lord of Alfheim, the home of the elves, and those elves were not little guys who want to be dentists. They were fierce warriors, they were.
The pieces fall into place. This is what Christianity has left us with. No more Roman Saturnalia at the winter solstice, with its orgies and feasts. No more Wild Hunts with Valkyries. No king of the gods. Just a jolly fat man in a silly red suit.
First shared on the Squatcher’s Lounge Podcast:
An audio version of this quasi theory may be found here: