Friday, 16 December 2011

Keep your traditions!

Christmas is just round the corner! That can be also seen on TV where plenty of Christmas movies are being re-run by the Nth time. Quite many of those are Santa related. And here comes my problem.

The current Santa Claus i pretty much Coca-Cola's invention. It's a cute, friendly and I'd say even huggable character. So far so good. He lives in the North Pole and is famous by his "ho ho ho". And his main reindeer has a red nose, and they fly.Well...

Now let's take a trip to my homeland, Catalonia, more precisely to my hometown Igualada. In the Christmas eve (not too celebrated) or the Christmas Day (the big celebration) we do have our "Tió" (which literally means log) and we make it shit. No worries, the caga tió tradition is actually very cute. (Let's concentrate on the "caganer" in another post).

On December 28th the "patge Faruk" announces to all the children that the Three Wise Men are on their way, and that the good kids (which are in the White Book) will get presents, and that the badly behaved kids (in the Black Book) will get coal! But of course they still have time to change to better.

patge Faruk in the middle, and two of his servants holding the White and Black books.
The kids are really hoping that their names are not in the black one!  

Then in the night of January 5th the three wise men ("els reis mags") and their servants (the "patges") do a parade and after that they deliver the presents to each home. No kidding here, no tricks: they do have tens of trucks filled with presents and they do deliver them door by door. And it's awesome!

Did anybody see any Santa? Any Saint Nicholas or whatever? No, right? Then why are we filling the streets with bearded fat red dudes? We drink Coca Cola already, but let us be with our Tió de Nadal, our Reis Mags and keep Santa in the TV screen!

And now let's go north, to my adoption country, Finland. Santa actually is from here, not the North Pole! And he lives in Rovaniemi! Ups... no he doesn't (but please keep the tourists flowing and spending money there). And he's no Santa.

And let me apologize already to all my Finnish friends and colleagues if any of the following is wrong. Let me know and I'll fix it!

He lives in Korvatunturi and he's Joulupukki, which literally means the Joulu goat. Joulu is likely to be related to the germanic Yule, and to the other scandinavian neighbors Jul: a pagan celebration nowadays assimilated to Christmas.

He doesn't fly, doesn't come down through chimneys, and in the past wasn't that much of a friendly character. He does come home in the Jouluaatto (Christmas Eve) to see if there are well behaved kids and may reward them. To get a taste of what I mean I truly recommend to watch the Rare Exports movie (not for kids!).

Joulupukki belongs here and the Finns have managed to keep it as Joulupukki! And that's awesome!

Sorry but I have to say this... Santa, stay wherever you belong!

And to be fair,

Hyvää Joulua,
Bon Nadal

 - R

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