Here’s What You Need to Know About the Christmas Reindeer

The character of Santa Claus is based largely on St Nicholas and Sinterklaas of Dutch lore. Both these figures are traversed by a noble white horse. However, in some Western cultures, especially in America, Santa Claus travels the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.

Reindeer were once viewed as mysterious creatures, linked to lands areas in the northern part of the world. Their population was widespread in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, where in the 18th century, they were domesticated. They are often used in transport, sledding and sleigh, and still are an important aspect of some local northern European cultures, especially for people alone (better known as the falls to non-Europeans).

Modern history of flying reindeer may very well have evolved from an ancient Norse legend of Thor, God of thunder, who flew into the sky in a chariot drawn by two magical goats. Over time, the winter festivals in Scandinavia, related to Thor gave a tribute to these magical creatures, dressed as a goat as part of the winter rites. In the 18th century, the goat was the winner of a surprise in the tradition of Santa Claus in Sweden. This later evolved into Denmark and Finland, to play the role of goat unyielding and frightening children’s behavior.

The reindeer became an icon of the holiday lore, especially in the US, but also in other parts of the world. Today it is difficult to imagine a Santa without his sleigh pulled by eight or nine small reindeer.

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