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Archive for December 24th, 2008

YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #5 – REINDEER(and the YULE GOAT)

Posted by invizweb on December 24, 2008

The Santa Klaus’ most renowned companions are the reindeer who make up his team. This was not always the case as the official animal mascot of the Winter Solstice in most of the Euro-Western world was the Yule Goat. Originally two goat whom were named Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr were the mounts of Thunder God, Thor and his hammer Mjonir. It is theorized that these two are the origins of the Yule Goat (note I do not claim Santa is Thor). The function of the goat is to signify the coming feast when a goat (suprise~!) would be sacrificed to diners via roasting. The iconography of the goat lost its prominence since supposedly the tradition of men dressed as a goat for the Yule celebration, knocking on doors to sing carols, spooked small children. Thus the goat is mostly an ornament or a straw effigy to be burned nowadays.

And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

excerpt from “A Visit from Santa Klaus (aka, Twas the Night Before Christmas),” Anonymous (1823)

The above poem marked the rise in the reindeer as Santa’s steed of choice in popular culture. As stated yesterday, as there are no reindeer to be found in the North Pole, in Europe, many traditions hold that Santa’s reindeer reside in Lapland, Finland.  In Australia, the traditional story is that Santa unreins the reindeer for  a team of kangaroo as reindeer would overheat in sub equatorial running.

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