In our last article on Santa Claus facts we learned how Santa and his red-nosed reindeer – Rudolph came to existence. We need to agree that the making of Santa and Rudolph was indeed pretty interesting. However, there are quite some weird and little known facts about Santa that we are going to put together in this new article. You may already know a few of these facts but we are pretty darn sure that the others are going to take you by surprise. So, let us begin with 20 interesting and weird Santa Claus facts.
Interesting and Weird Santa Claus Facts: 1-10
1. As we learned earlier that Santa Claus came from Saint Nicholas. According to St. Nicholas Cantata by Benjamin Britten in 1948, when Saint Nicholas was born, what he immediately did was he yelled the words – “God be Glorified.” Okay, that’s fascinating but a new born yelling words is quite frightening for anyone present nearby – even for the mother we guess!
2. There is a problem with Santa’s reindeer. You see, according to scientific study of reindeer, the males shed their antlers during the winter months. The females however maintain their antlers. Unfortunately, all of Santa’s reindeer have male names and they all have antlers during the freezing month of December. So, are those reindeer male. If yes, how come they keep their antlers during winter? If they are females with male names, Santa serious has gender identification issues.
3. Saint Nicholas did more miracles than Jesus. One such miracle was the resurrection of three kids. According to a legend, there used to be a seriously twisted butcher who once lured in three kids, killed them, butchered them and put their meat on sale, claiming that it was ham.
4. As the story goes, Saint Nicholas saw the meat immediately recognized that it was not ham but rather human flesh. He immediately resurrected the kids, who later grew up to be vegetarians.
5. There is a different version of the story which states that the butchered meat of the kids was actually pickled by the twisted cannibalistic butcher and put on sale. Saint Nicholas still managed to identify the meat as pickled boys and resurrected them.
6. Resurrection wasn’t the only miracle of Saint Nicholas. Yet another miracle that earned him the title of sailor savior was that of borrowing wheat. Though we have covered this point in previous article, we are going to give a brief summary here.
7. It was 311-312 CE famine when Saint Nicholas approached a ship full of wheat (the ship was docked at Myra port) as asked for wheat from the sailors. The sailors refused stating that the wheat was for Emperor of Constantinople who had asked for a specific weight to be delivered.
8. Saint Nicholas still took the wheat and said the sailors that the total weight of the wheat will not be reduced during delivery. St. Nicholas took enough wheat that was used for feeding the whole city Myra for 2 years in a row and yet when the Emperor of Constantinople measure the weight of the wheat on delivery, there was no change in total weight. The sailors were saved! Do you remember Jesus feeding whole bunch of people for 24 hours? We don’t think so!
9. The 8 flying reindeer of Santa weren’t supposed to be reindeer at all. The Germanic version of Santa was Odin – a Norse God who flew around on an immortal flying warhorse which had 8 legs. Before Germanic Europe was Christianized, those Germanic people celebrated Yule – an event or celebration of midwinter. It was believed that during those days ghostly occurrences and supernatural phenomena would increase significantly. One such ghostly occurrence was the Wild Hunt that was led by Odin.
10. According to popular belief of those days, Odin was an aged god with long white beard, wearing a blue hood and a cloak. He would fly around on his terrifying warhorse named Sleipnir. It was customary for children to keep food for Odin. Odin would take the food and place treats and candies there for the kids.
Interesting and Weird Santa Claus Facts: 11-20
11. In North America, Odin was replaced by Santa and Odin’s fearsome, gray, eight-legged flying horse was traded for flying reindeer. All the credit for this replacement goes to the poem – “An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement Clark Moore.
12. Netherlands and Belgium have different legends about Santa Claus. While they refer to Santa as Sinter Klaas, their legend said that Sinter Klass used to keep two list of nice children and naughty children.
13. As far as gift giving was concerned, Sinter Klaas, according to the legends of both Netherlands and Belgium, had workshop not in North Pole but in Spain and he never flew on a reindeer pulled sleigh but used a speed boat to get to these countries from Spain.
14. As of today, children of both is countries hold the view that Santa Claus and Sinter Klaas are different and while Sinter Klaas is the good one who gives gift, Santa Claus is the one who takes the back seat and is not much loved.
15. Before Saint Nicholas or Odin or Santa Claus came to existence, there was the Yule Goat – a magical being popular in Scandinavian countries. The job of this goat was to make sure that all families completed preparations for Yule celebrations. The goat used to wander around and demanded gifts. Things however turned around as the legends of gift givers during winters started growing in Europe. Instead of demanding presents, the Yule Goat started bringing presents somewhere in the 19th century. Then when the Santa Claus emerged, the Yule Goat was completely lost in oblivion.
16. Santa isn’t just fond of cookies and milk as the popular culture claims. In different countries different types of offerings are made. For instance, Irish people either give milk or famous Guinness in addition to mince pies or Christmas pudding.
17. In countries such as Norway and Sweden, rice porridge is what children leave for Santa. In Australia and Britain, mince pies, beer or sherry are offered to Santa Claus.
18. Though the political cartoonist Thomas Nast gave Santa his red clothes back in 1881, it wasn’t the official fashion for Santa. Back then, Santa’s dress could be of any color such as green, mauve, blue or brown. The red color became locked as only fashion for Santa in 1931 because of Coca Cola. A massive campaign was launched by the company where the white and the predominant red color of Coke was used for featuring Santa and it remained that way. Santa is pretty commercial you see!
19. There is yet another miracle of Saint Nicholas or Sinter Klaas who inspired Santa Claus. After his death, Saint Nicholas was buried in the same place he was born, i.e. in Myra. According to legends, his bones released a watery and clear liquid that possessed miraculous powers! Miracle healing bone juice which smells like rose water is known as myrrh or manna. The bones really didn’t stay in Turkey though!
20. During the Seljuk Turks invasion of the 11th century, Bari and Venice – the two Italian cities wanted to capture the relics to Saint Nicholas both in the name of protecting it from Muslims and also from commercial perspective of pilgrimage site. The Bari sailors took the first advantage and brought the bones of the saint to Bari in 1087, leaving behind some minor fragments. It is said that those sailors were actually thieves but some claim that Saint Nicholas came to their vision and personally asked for the bones to be removed. Later during the first crusade of 1099, the Venetians capture the remaining fragments and took them back to Venice. The bones that reached Bari were entombed and miraculously, the tomb started seeping out the miracle liquid.
According to many scientists, the tomb at Bari is actually located below sea level and that the clear liquid may be nothing but seawater (that moves into the tomb through capillary action). However, no one really has an explanation about how this clear liquid came out specifically on 6th of December while the relics were located in Myra.