December 21, 2006

Julnissa, the Norse Santa?

Here's a new one for me, by Andrew Hamilton, at Eureakastreet. I have not heard of this connection and will have no time to this Advent. Maybe someone can put some links in the comments?

"In Christian circles, Santa is often seen as an interloper. He steals space that belongs to Jesus. But Norway the story is more complex. There Christians originally invited Santa Claus in.

Julnissa, the Norse Santa, was originally an elf, one of the original cultivators of family land, who came out to drink at the Jul celebrations. Jul (Yuletide) was a festival marking the transition from winter to spring. In the tenth century, King Haakon 1 of Norway moved the celebration of Jul to December 25. Elements of the older mythology survived, including the Julnissa who later incorporated St. Nicholas and his red and white hat."

There is always something new to learn or think about

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