Names for Santa Claus Around the World
There are many names for Santa Claus, no matter which one, is known around the world for bringing toys for good girls and boys. Every culture and nearly every language have their own unique names for Santa Claus. Here we will cover just a few of the most popular names for Santa, and different traditions of Santa Claus around the world.
The story of Saint Nicholas is generally believed to be the most common history for the Origin of Santa Claus, and he continues to use this name in many countries. Particularly during the religious celebration of Christmas with Catholic and Christian faiths. Depending on the culture, he may take on traits of Sinterklaas or more modern roles.
Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated in many western countries, usually on December 6th. Traditions surrounding this important date include gift-giving and feasting. Children may leave shoes out on St. Nicholas eve to hopefully awaken to coins in them. Many families will attend Mass or worship service on this holy holiday.
A variation, or adaptation from Saint Nicholas, used mainly in The Netherlands, but also in other parts of Europe such as Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of France. Awash with his own traditions, such as his mischievous helpers known as ‘Zwarte Piet’ (Black Pete), he dresses as a bishop and rides a horse. His arrival is marked each year in Mid-November when he ceremoniously arrives (from his summer residence in Spain, legend tells) by steamboat. Where there is no river, he arrives by train. The Netherlands celebrates their own version of St. Nicholas Day on the 5th of December with a great feast.
Sinterklaas is said to have a serious disposition, as opposed to the jolly, joyful Santa Claus we’re more familiar with.
Celebrated as the bringer of gifts in many countries in Christian worshiping Europe and Latin America, the ‘Christ Child’ became a popular figure during the Protestant Reformation when Catholic celebrations of Christmas were banned. Because of this, the date of celebration was moved from December 6th to December 24th. This legend is where we get our modern Americanized ‘Kris Kringle’, more familiar of the names for Santa Claus. Often depicted as a child or angel, the Christkindl brings presents to children as they sleep, and is never seen. Sound familiar?
A very early personification of Christmas was celebrated by the British, mentions of him in records dating back as far as the 15th century simply had a figure sometimes named Sir Christmas, or Captain Christmas celebrating and encouraging merry-making. Once he started to be depicted as an older gentleman, often with a holly wreath around his head, he took on the name ‘Old Christmas’. He was a regular figure in the early 1800’s in many Christmas plays, although he didn’t have anything to do with children or gift-giving.
Finally, in the Victorian Era, as Christmas traditions saw a revival in popularity, so too Father Christmas evolved as a gift-giver and finally once A Visit from St. Nicholas was published in 1853, it was solidified that Father Christmas was the very same ‘Santa Claus’ which had emerged in the United States during the same few decades.
A similar story emerged from Slavic countries dating back before even Christian Traditions. Which became more popular in the mid-19th century and during Soviet times, as an alternate for the more western attached Santa Claus. Ded Moroz, also known as Father Frost, is said to be a Winter Wizard.
He could be seen as a more similar figure to Jack Frost, or ‘Old Man Winter’, however, he retains similarities to Santa when he brings toys and treats to children on New Years Day (again, to avoid more religious aspects of the western traditions).
The Santa name that we’re most familiar with in modern times is an obvious amalgamation of all these fantastic traditions, and names for Santa Claus. The addition of our own tales and traditions make him an even more unique character. Further books and articles were written, adding more to the evolution until we came to the everyday symbol that we know and love today.
Many countries offer their own unique interpretations for the Santa Claus legend and many have their own unique traditions. Even under the name of ‘Santa Claus’, there are different Languages for the same name. Here are a few names for Santa Claus in other Languages:
Join our Newsletter to Download these
Santa Claus Colouring Pages, Free!