Kind grandfather or god of death? How Karachun turned into Santa Claus

Kind grandfather or god of death? How Karachun turned into Santa Claus
Kind grandfather or god of death? How Karachun turned into Santa Claus
28 December 2020, 17:05SocietyPhoto:
This elderly man has many names: Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Per Noel. But every child is looking forward to it, hoping to get a Barbie doll or playstation from a kind old man. But Santa Claus became kind only 100 years ago. Before that, under other names, for thousands of years, he had terrified all children and many adults.

Many children, accustomed to the fairy tale, are waiting for his arrival. Meanwhile, there is a very unpleasant Santo dossier tells YouTube channel "Sedition" .

Santa Claus

In the 2-3 century AD, the Archbishop of Mirlikia lived in Forward Asia, he is also Saint Nicholas. The whole world knows him as Nicholas the Wonderworker, Nicholas the Pleasant, or Peer Noel, or Santa Claus. Gifts for the poor and their children and fulfillment of wishes? Nothing like this. Until the 19th century, Santa Claus flogged and carried away naughty children in a sack. And it's not that Nikolai was a cruel man. In those days, it was common to take children of 7-12 children into slavery if the families could not pay taxes or tribute. The archbishop traveled around the territories entrusted to him in late autumn and winter. Despite the difference in traditions, Saint Nicholas was engaged in taking their children from the peasants in order to pay off their debts. Nikolay was not "working" alone. In the Alps, he was accompanied by Krampus, a creature with horns, hooves and a tail. In the German lands, Santa Claus traveled with the soldier Ruprecht. Krampus and Ruprecht did dirty work for Santa - they whipped naughty children and took them to their place.

At the end of the 19th century, when the phenomenon of childhood appears in Europe, Santa Claus and his companions lose their beastly grin. Krampus remains a monster, but he steals children to ride them on a sled.

In Russia, during the time of Alexander II, an attempt was made to get their Christmas grandfather. In 1861, in some New Year's stories, one could find the old soldier Ruprecht giving gifts to children. Saint Nicholas appeared a little later, but these heroes did not become symbols of the Russian New Year, the pagan traditions were too great.


Especially ancient Slavs revered Karachun. There were even special days when he was worshiped - on the day of the winter solstice, from December 21 to 22. Karachun is the second name of the Slavic god of death - Chernobog. He ruled the frosts. God was formidable. Together with him, there were always crank bears, which turned into snowstorms and blizzards, as well as wolves. Karachun continues to live in the proverbs: "A karachun came to him" or "Wait for a karachun". Later, Karachun was increasingly associated with frost. A stern old man appeared, who knocks with a stick, freezes the rivers, breathes winter cold, and turns words into icicles. Severe frost loves optimists, but whiners have a hard time. Like in Alexander Romm's fairy tale "Morozko": "Are you warm, a girl, are you warm, red?" Only when the girl showed her fortitude, Frost rewarded her with wealth and a groom.

Santa Claus

Now Grandfather is accompanied by funny little people - snowmen. However, people have forgotten, but snowmen are real idols, which were molded as a sign of reverence for the formidable and ruthless god of death. Santa Claus gradually turned into a kind, but strict old man and into a symbol of the New Year holidays. In 1840, VI Odoevsky wrote the fairy tale "Moroz Ivanovich", in 1886 Morozko first appeared in Russian literature, and in the 30s the Soviet government in its atheism made Father Frost the main symbol of the New Year holidays. The pagan Karachun became a more suitable prototype for the party leaders than the Christian saint.

Daidi Nanolagg, Yolupukki and Ylosuinars

Of course, Disney has imprinted the Santa Claus image in celebrating Christmas all over the world. But not all cultural traditions have succumbed to American influence. In Ireland, children are waiting for Daidi Nanolagg (Father Christmas) every year. He looks like Santa Claus, but instead of a hat he has a wreath of herbs on his head, a staff with green branches in his hands, and he is dressed, as befits on a green island, in everything green.

The Finnish Christmas symbol looked more like an animal than a person, and its name is Yolupukki. Once he was a goat, or rather, a terrible monster in a goat's skin and with horns. Yolupukki went from house to house in winter, frightened children and demanded a drink from the peasants. He cooked the disobedient in a cauldron, which was very similar to Krampus. But these barbaric habits are a thing of the past. Now Yolupukki is a rosy-cheeked old man with a sly smile and a red caftan.

In Iceland, instead of Santa Klats, the Julosuinars, or "Christmas lads", are operating. We are talking about mischievous gnomes who leave gifts in the shoes of obedient boys and girls, and stick potatoes and stones to the naughty ones. But this is a heavily improved version of an old legend. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the gnomes themselves, and their cannibal mother Grilla and the lazy father Lapoludi were gloomy creatures in the Icelandic epic. A week before Christmas, this gang descended from the mountains and began to swagger over the inhabitants. They stole cattle, beat utensils, robbed houses and kidnapped children. Their mother was especially terrified. Grilla, in the company of a huge Yule cat, grabbed naughty children on the street and cooked them for them in her cave for a festive dinner. The cat figured out badly dressed people who, because of their laziness, could not buy themselves warm clothes. The mustached monster did not stand on ceremony with them and devoured them without a trace.

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