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Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'

 
Alxander Raven
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12/03/2006 01:43 PM
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Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
325 AD, a bishop of Emperor Constantines Council of Nicea - 'Nicholas of Myra', AD 271 - 343 - (now Turkey) claimed to have had a personal conversation with Jesus and an angel. The council was debating the idea of the 'Holy Trinity'. An opponent of the idea, 'Arias', rose to speak and Nicholas punched him in the nose, knocked him down.

In the 9th century a Greek missionary, 'Methodius', wrote a fictional biography of Nicholas. In the story Nicholas gave 3 bags of gold to prostitutes to save them from the business. It was said he had the power to calm seas, and connected to children through a tale of Nicholas restoring life to boys that had been killed and cut to pieces, then stored in brine by their innkeeper parents.
Sailors, hookers and schoolboys, and pawnbrokers - took him as a patron saint.
Eventually he was the patron saint of Greece, Sicily, Lorraine, Russia, Apulia - establishing a place in the eastern orthodox church.
The bags of gold idea grew into a tale of him returning every year to give away gold bags.

The founders of New York, 'New Amsterdam' were not Catholics, they were Dutch Protestants. They didn't care or know about St. Nicholas. Germans had their own story, introduced into Pennsylvania in the 1700's, his name was 'Pelznichol', meaning furry Nicholas - a hogoblin, sometimes called 'Old Nick'. Established firmly by the 1827 Philadelphia Yuletide festivals.
By 1840 this wild hairy prankster had been transformed into a gift-giver, and a new nicname - Krist Kindle - 'Christ kind - or Kris Kringle, they had him giving the gifts only to children then.

Around 1823 folks reconned the Christ child and Kris Kringle were the same person, just appearing differently as gods are wont to do.

1610, Ben Johnson, playwrite, has a character onstage in 'Cristmas Masque', tallhat decked with holly named Father Christmas, entering the stage with him were children and the little angel 'Cupid', eventually a reindeers name.

1822, Clement Clarke Moore writes a poem for his own kids, 'A Visit from Saint Nicholas', - became - 'The Night Before Christmas'.
Pelznichols signature was said to be thunder and lightning - Donner and Blitzen. The poem drew on the Russian 'Grandfather Frost' traditions, he drove a reindeer sleigh.
Father Christmas traditionally rode a white horse.
The poem was the first link to reindeer, stockings on a chimney, and a description of St. Nick - still no mentions of 'Santa' though. ( and no Rudolph until 1939 in a story by Robert May )
Harpers weekly hired Thomas Nast to do a cover each Christmas, which evolved slowly closer to our current Santa image, but, in England at the time, Father Christmas was the image, 1888, riding a goat.

From 1931 to 1964, Haddon Sundblum created a new version each year for Coca-Cola. Published world-wide, our image of the guy was fully developed.
Coke - The real thing.

Old Nick was too much like pope Gregorys Satan characters from his 12th century plays, and was said to live 'up north', so Old Nick was nixed, and Penznichols, said to also live at the north pole was too wild and hairy - probably hard to pronounce too.

Jacob Grimms work, 'Teutonic Mythology' says during the middle ages, plays with St. Nicholas were very popular and often involved him developing a split personalty, and evil side, wild and hairy - known as 'the Claus' - Satan Claus.
So, we have a problem with the name and character, he was the evil side of St. Nicholas. A little switch of the spelling and the demonic character from the plays becomes 'Santa Claus' and has the beneficent and giving characteristics of the St. Nicholas stories.

and that's the truth.

raspberry
The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.
Anonymous Coward
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12/03/2006 01:47 PM
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Re: Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
A rival suggestion for the origins of much of Santa's paraphernalia-his red and white color scheme, those flying reindeer, and so on-is much more fun, less commercial, more scientific, and somehow more appealing than Coca-Cola's version, because it is so politically incorrect.

Patrick Harding of Sheffield University in England argues that the trappings of the traditional Christmas experience owe a great deal to what is probably the most important mushroom in history: fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), the recreational and ritualistic drug of choice in parts of northern Europe before vodka was imported from the East. Each December this mycologist dresses up as Santa and drags a sleigh behind him to deliver seasonal lectures on the toadstool. The garb helps Harding drive home his point, for Santa's robes without doubt honor the red-and-white-dot color scheme of this potent mind-altering mushroom.

Commonly found in northern Europe, North America, and New Zealand, fly agaric is fairly poisonous, being a relative of the more lethal death cap (Amanita phalloides) and destroying angel (Amanita virosa). The hallucinogenic principles of fly agaric are due to the presence of the chemicals ibotenic acid and muscimol, according to the International Mycological Institute at Egham, Surrey, England. Ibotenic acid is present only in fresh mushrooms. On drying, it turns into muscimol, which is ten times more potent. In Lapp societies, the village holy man, or shaman, took his mushrooms dried-with good reason.

The shaman knew how to prepare the mushroom, removing the more potent toxins so that it was safe enough to eat. During a mushroom-induced trance, he would start to twitch and sweat. His soul was thought to leave the body as an animal and fly to the otherworld to communicate with the spirits The spirits would, the shaman hoped, help him to deal with pressing problems, such as an outbreak of sickness in the village. With luck, after his hallucinatory flight across the skies, he would return bearing the gifts of medical knowledge from the gods.

Santa's jolly "Ho, ho, ho" is the euphoric laugh of someone who has indulged in the mushroom. Harding adds that the big man's fondness for popping down chimneys is an echo of how the shaman would drop into a yurt, an ancient tentlike dwelling made of birch and reindeer hide. "The 'door' and the chimney of the yurt were the same, and the most significant person coming down the chimney would have been a shaman coming to heal a sick person."

Harding uses the shaman's urine to link reindeer to the myth. For one thing, reindeer were uncommonly fond of drinking human urine that contained muscimol. The hoi polloi from the village also were partial to mind-expanding yellow snow, because the potency of the muscimol was not greatly weakened-although it was probably safer-once it had passed through the shaman. "There is evidence of the drug passing through five or six people and still being effective," Harding says. "This is almost certainly the derivation of the phrase 'to get pissed,' which has nothing to do with alcohol. It predates inebriation by alcohol by several thousand years."

Such was the intensity of the drug-induced experience that it is hardly surprising that the Christmas legend includes flying reindeer. Witches soar for related reasons: a witch who wanted to "fly" to a sabbat, or orgiastic ceremony, would anoint a staff with specially prepared oils containing psychoactive matter, probably from toad skins, and then apply it to vaginal membranes.

References to flying can be found in more recent applications of the mushroom. St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) used fly agaric to soar to the heights of religious ecstasy, according to Daniele Piomelli of the Unité de Neurobiologie et Pharmacologie de I'Inserm in Paris. An account of the life of St. Catherine describes the use of ground agaric, so that God "infused such suavity and divine sweetness in her heart that both soul and body were so full as to make her unable to stand."

In Victorian times travelers returned with intriguing tales of the use of fly agaric by people in Siberia, Lapland, and other areas in the northern latitudes. One of the first was reported by the mycologist Mordecai Cooke, who mentioned the recycling of urine rich in muscimol in his A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi (I862). Harding points out that Cooke was a friend of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), the author of the fantastic children's story Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (I865). Almost certainly, this is the source of the episode in Alice where she eats the mushroom, where one side makes her grow very tall and the other very small," Harding says. "This inability to judge size-macropsia- is one of the effects of fly agaric."
[link to www.enotalone.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 165184
United Kingdom
12/03/2006 01:47 PM
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Re: Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
A rival suggestion for the origins of much of Santa's paraphernalia-his red and white color scheme, those flying reindeer, and so on-is much more fun, less commercial, more scientific, and somehow more appealing than Coca-Cola's version, because it is so politically incorrect.

Patrick Harding of Sheffield University in England argues that the trappings of the traditional Christmas experience owe a great deal to what is probably the most important mushroom in history: fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), the recreational and ritualistic drug of choice in parts of northern Europe before vodka was imported from the East. Each December this mycologist dresses up as Santa and drags a sleigh behind him to deliver seasonal lectures on the toadstool. The garb helps Harding drive home his point, for Santa's robes without doubt honor the red-and-white-dot color scheme of this potent mind-altering mushroom.

Commonly found in northern Europe, North America, and New Zealand, fly agaric is fairly poisonous, being a relative of the more lethal death cap (Amanita phalloides) and destroying angel (Amanita virosa). The hallucinogenic principles of fly agaric are due to the presence of the chemicals ibotenic acid and muscimol, according to the International Mycological Institute at Egham, Surrey, England. Ibotenic acid is present only in fresh mushrooms. On drying, it turns into muscimol, which is ten times more potent. In Lapp societies, the village holy man, or shaman, took his mushrooms dried-with good reason.

The shaman knew how to prepare the mushroom, removing the more potent toxins so that it was safe enough to eat. During a mushroom-induced trance, he would start to twitch and sweat. His soul was thought to leave the body as an animal and fly to the otherworld to communicate with the spirits The spirits would, the shaman hoped, help him to deal with pressing problems, such as an outbreak of sickness in the village. With luck, after his hallucinatory flight across the skies, he would return bearing the gifts of medical knowledge from the gods.

Santa's jolly "Ho, ho, ho" is the euphoric laugh of someone who has indulged in the mushroom. Harding adds that the big man's fondness for popping down chimneys is an echo of how the shaman would drop into a yurt, an ancient tentlike dwelling made of birch and reindeer hide. "The 'door' and the chimney of the yurt were the same, and the most significant person coming down the chimney would have been a shaman coming to heal a sick person."

Harding uses the shaman's urine to link reindeer to the myth. For one thing, reindeer were uncommonly fond of drinking human urine that contained muscimol. The hoi polloi from the village also were partial to mind-expanding yellow snow, because the potency of the muscimol was not greatly weakened-although it was probably safer-once it had passed through the shaman. "There is evidence of the drug passing through five or six people and still being effective," Harding says. "This is almost certainly the derivation of the phrase 'to get pissed,' which has nothing to do with alcohol. It predates inebriation by alcohol by several thousand years."

Such was the intensity of the drug-induced experience that it is hardly surprising that the Christmas legend includes flying reindeer. Witches soar for related reasons: a witch who wanted to "fly" to a sabbat, or orgiastic ceremony, would anoint a staff with specially prepared oils containing psychoactive matter, probably from toad skins, and then apply it to vaginal membranes.

References to flying can be found in more recent applications of the mushroom. St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) used fly agaric to soar to the heights of religious ecstasy, according to Daniele Piomelli of the Unité de Neurobiologie et Pharmacologie de I'Inserm in Paris. An account of the life of St. Catherine describes the use of ground agaric, so that God "infused such suavity and divine sweetness in her heart that both soul and body were so full as to make her unable to stand."

In Victorian times travelers returned with intriguing tales of the use of fly agaric by people in Siberia, Lapland, and other areas in the northern latitudes. One of the first was reported by the mycologist Mordecai Cooke, who mentioned the recycling of urine rich in muscimol in his A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi (I862). Harding points out that Cooke was a friend of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), the author of the fantastic children's story Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (I865). Almost certainly, this is the source of the episode in Alice where she eats the mushroom, where one side makes her grow very tall and the other very small," Harding says. "This inability to judge size-macropsia- is one of the effects of fly agaric."
[link to www.enotalone.com]
Alxander Raven  (OP)

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12/03/2006 01:55 PM
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Re: Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
Hi AC.

Yeah - I've seen the mushroom stuff too. I doubt the Coca-cola folks give a shit. They are however excellent at marketing.
Of course any traditional images from pre-churchianty times have been hijacked and twisted.
Mushroom cultures, ( he- he - ) have been worldwide depending on the rainfall.

You can make the truth work with your own personal mythologies.

I didn't copy and paste here folks, maybe someone else has some thoughts of their own?
The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.
Anonymous Coward
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United States
12/03/2006 04:31 PM
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Re: Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
lala
Alxander Raven  (OP)

User ID: 165286
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12/03/2006 06:41 PM
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Re: Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
No thoughts or comments? It's a lot to wrap up into the santa character we have now.

Don't you find a lot of what you 'know' turns out like this?
The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.
TyraN.O.S.aurus

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Serbia
12/03/2006 06:50 PM
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Re: Actual Origins of 'Santa Claus'
Santa Claus = Saint Nickolas





GLP