I was wondering if anyone has any books or short stories about the different mythological figures used to represent Christmas around the world. Here in the US we have Santa Clause and I know other countries have something similar.
In the United States and Canada, his name is Santa Claus. In China, he is called Shengdan Laoren. In England, his name is Father Christmas , where he has a longer coat and a longer beard. In France, he's known as Pere Noel. In Germany, children get presents from Chris Kringle, which is a play on the word Christkindl, the Christ Child. The Russian Grandfather Frost has strong Pagan relations. He is always accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow girl), a merry girl who helps Grandfather Frost provide a New Year party for children as well as bringing them gifts. He wears a long fur coat covered by bright beautiful cloth (blue or red) trimmed in fur. According to new tradition, Grandfather Frost and Snegurochka live in the town Veliky Ustug from which they begin their New Year journey by troika of white horses. Today Grandfather Frost is connected to New Year celebrations, but before 1917 he was much more related to Christmas. Grandfather Frost and Snegurochka visit children asking them to sing or read a poem, sometimes asking if they were good, and of course giving presents.
In Puerto Rico, children receive gifts from the Three Kings on January 6th, also called the celebration of Epiphany, the 3 Kings' Day. Each child puts grass under their bed for the camels. In the morning the grass is replaced with gifts.
In Italy Babbo Natale, which means Father Christmas, is Santa. Children put a pair of their shoes by the door on the day before Epiphany and the following morning they find them filled with small gifts and candy.
In Japan, Santa Claus is called Santa Claus or just "Santa". Children often call him "Santa no ojisan," which means "Uncle Santa."
.....In Puerto Rico, children receive gifts from the Three Kings on January 6th, also called the celebration of Epiphany, the 3 Kings' Day. Each child puts grass under their bed for the camels. In the morning the grass is replaced with gifts......
I believe this is also the tradition in Spain and other derivative cultures. The gift-giving tradition at Christmas can probably be traced to the Biblical story of the three Magi bearing gifts for the Christ child.