Saturday, 5 December 2015

E is For... (Christmas Day 5)

Posted by Abigail Hampton at 09:00

No, not these elves...

These elves...

Yep, quite a big difference. These elves help Santa make his presents in the North Pole.
They were first introduced in literature by Louisa May Alcott in 1856. The Santa Claus character is much older, emerging in US folklore in the early 17th century from an amalgamation of various European Christmas traditions, especially from English Father Christmas and Dutch Sinterklaas. The association of Christmas presents with elves has precedents in the first half of the 19th century with the Tomte in Sweden and Nisse in Denmark, and St Nicholas himself is called an elf in A Visit from St. Nicholas (1823).

The Christmas elf appeared in literature as early as 1850 when Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women, and others)  completed, but never published a book entitled Christmas Elves.The image of the elves in the workshop was popularised by Godey's Lady's Book, with a front cover illustration for its 1873 Christmas Issue showing Santa surrounded by toys and elves with the caption, "Here we have an idea of the preparations that are made to supply the young folks with toys at Christmas time." During this time Godey's was immensely influential to the birth of Christmas traditions, having shown the first widely circulated picture of a modern Christmas tree on the front cover of its 1850 Christmas issue. Additional recognition was given in Austin Thompson's 1876 work "The House of Santa Claus, a Christmas Fairy Show for Sunday Schools".

Around The World
In different countries, Santa's helpers go by different names. In Iceland they are the Yule Lads who between December 12 and 24, a different Lad visit homes each day to leave presents and play tricks on children. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the companion is called Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), in Germany they are the Knecht Ruprecht and in Luxembourg they are known as Hoesecker.
In Nordic countries an elf will usually wear only red instead of the green and red outfits they are known for in English speaking countries.
Altoona, Pennsylvania, and a growing number of communities in the Boston area celebrate Buzzlewitz Day on November 11. According to the Lowther tradition, Buzzlewitz is the elf that is sent by Santa to collect children's Christmas lists. On 11 November of each year at 11 pm, children leave their Christmas lists and a snickerdoodle cookie on the mantle or in the kitchen. Buzzlewitz comes in the night to collect the lists. In return, he leaves a mint and an acorn.
(All information taken from Wikipedia, and photos from Google)

Thanks For Reading, See You Tomorrow!!

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