Christmas 2021 | The Famous Christmas Characters And Their Significance

New Delhi: Christmas is just around the corner and every year, the same specific characters reappear, each is popularly known and celebrated but are the origins known? Though all these have may have different roles or origin stories these are some of the most popularly known. 

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The main characters of Christmas:

Santa Claus: The modern version of Santa Claus is the portly man with a white beard who wears thick red clothes with fur trims & lives in the North Pole. He rides a sleigh pulled by flying reindeers on Christmas Eve gives presents to children based on whether they have been ‘naughty or nice’. He is believed to be based on Saint Nicholas a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra, who was known for giving gifts. Born to a wealthy family, one of his most famous stories is that he once rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them.

Chrismas Elves: These elves are small creatures who live and work in Santa’s workshop work all year round to build presents for the children. They also help read children’s letters, take care of the reindeers and sleigh and organize things. They are more commonly depicted as small human-like creatures but with pointy ears and wear red or green clothes. They are believed to have derived from Norse mythology, the elf character is most likely to have combined this Norse legend with other Scandinavian and Celtic cultures and myths regarding elves, fairies and nature spirits.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Perhaps one of the most popular carols heard by people, is about a red nose reindeer. He was the ninth and youngest of the reindeers and made fun of for his red shiny nose & because he was small. But one night it was so foggy, that Santa Claus asked Rudolph to lead the sleigh as his bright nose illuminated the way. Rudolph is a fictional reindeer created by Robert Lewis May in a 1939 booklet he wrote and was published by Montgomery Ward, a department store after which its popularity boomed.

The Three Wise Men (Kings): In some cultures there are known to be twelve, three are more popularly known and displayed in the Nativity Scene. These men are distinguished as foreigners in the Gospel of Matthew. In Christian tradition they are known to have travelled from far away lands from the east, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh following the divine light to visit the King of Jews after his birth. Since no other description is known of the men, different cultures have different versions of these men. Among these is that of Saint Thomas Syrian Christians of Kerala, a scholar from a feudal Nair family from Kerala, India who after returning made a temple with the idol of Mary and infant Jesus and named the idol “Bala Karthyayani” and kept it besides other Hindu deities. Later in the 5th century when the Saint Thomas Syrian Christian community was firmly established the temple was reconstructed as the Piravom Syrian Church.

Little Drummer Boy: A popular Christmas song composed by American composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941, the song is about a poor boy who was summoned by The Three Wise Men but he said he has no gift fit for a King like baby Jesus then he asked Mary (Mother Mary/Virgin Mary) if he could play his drum after Mary nodded yes he played his best and then baby Jesus smiled at him. First recorded in 1951 by the Austrian Trapp Family, the song was further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale; the Simeone version was re-released successfully for several years and the song has been recorded many times since, including a version by Bob Dylan.

Christmas Angels: Borrowed from Later Greek ‘angelos’ literally means messengers, angels are believed to be the ones to spread the message that baby Jesus Christ was born. The connection to Christmas comes from the central role which angels play in the nativity story told in the Gospel of Luke: A single angel proclaims the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds, upon which an entire choir of angels strikes up ‘Gloria in excelsis’. In the Christian tradition, angels are believed to be proclaimers of the birth of Christ and bearers of divine light.

Frosty Snowman: A popular Christmas song recorded written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 and later recorded by Jimmy Durante. The song is about a snowman who comes to life after children find a magic top hat and place it on Frosty’s head. Frosty chuckles and plays with the children until the hot sun threatens to melt him. Frosty says goodbye to the children, reassuring them, “I’ll be back again someday.” Though the lyrics make no mention of the holiday, a 1958 American TV show made a change to the lyrics and instead of “Someday” made it  “Christmas day” after which it became a popular Christmas carol. 



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