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Inside the Legend: A Very Supernatural Christmas

 

We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas- well, you get the idea. Christmas is the time where we all come together and spend time with our family. Like this Christmas nestled under a reef of beer cans and watching my younger brother discover the hidden pleasures of skin mags. Yep, nothing can be better than Christmas. So, I’m betting all of you out there waking up on a bright and early Christmas Eve ready for a full two days of familial festivities want to know all about this holiday of ours… how it came to be, who Santa Claus really is and all about the superstitions that surround Christmas- not forgetting our recent hunt of Santa Claus’ evil brother. So, sit back and enjoy a very Supernatural Christmas brought to you by Dean and Sam Winchester. Oh and one more thing, if a hot babe walks by and there’s a mistletoe right above you two- dude, you gotta make a move. It’s a freebie.

ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS

Yeah, anyways Christmas actually originated as a Pagan holiday.

Back in ancient Rome, the Romans celebrated the god Saturn and the Iranian god Mithra; the church later replaced this time of celebration as a celebration of Christ’s nativity. But many of the traditions remained the same, such as decorating the house with lights and greenery, giving gifts to the poor, and even replacing the birth date of Mithra (December 25th) with Christ’s! In fact we don’t know when Jesus was even born, for all we know it could have been during the fall. From there the church also added the rituals of the holiday of Yule, which include fir trees, gifts and holiday greetings.

The evergreen trees, later known as Christmas Trees, were decorated with apples symbolizing the Garden of Eden. These apples evolved into the common day ornaments that we hang on a tree every Christmas.

Christmas trees are mentioned in the bible, although not positively:

“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

Jesus Christ Sammy, what are you going to tell them next, that the Easter Bunny's Jewish?! So, to put a lying dog to bed- the wreaths, the yule logs, the mistletoe- all Pagan!

SANTA CLAUS

Saint Nicholas inspired the origins of Santa Claus, he was a kindly bishop who gave to those more unfortunate than him without asking for anything in return. In Holland, he was known as Sinter Claus. Upon the eve of the anniversary of his death on the night of December 5th, nurses in France began to leave small treats for all the children. These treats typically involved good things to eat such as apples, cookies and sweets. This custom quickly spread throughout Europe and would later inspire Clement Clark Moore when he originated the legend of Santa Claus in 1822.

Moore re-imagined the legend through his poem ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ about a good natured saint named Santa Claus who was pulled by a group of reindeer and came down the chimney on Christmas eve; like St. Nicholas, Santa Claus spread good cheer and gave gifts to children. However, the look of Santa Claus was not a staple of the legend until 1863 when a cartoonist from Harper’s Weekly, Thomas Nash, settled the matter once and for all with his vision of the Christmas Saint.

This iconic image of a big fat jolly man in red and white became standardized through Coca-Cola in the early 1930s.

The customs and beliefs about Christmas vary depending on where you are. Children could leave shoes, stockings, plates or a Christmas Tree out for Santa to deliver gifts to. The jolly red man also travels by donkey, horseback or flying reindeer depending on who you ask.

In Bulgeria and Greece, Saint Nicholas is noted as being the protector of sailors and fishermen with the capability of calming the winds and storms allowing ships safe passage out of harms way.

In France, Saint Nicholas is seen as the protector of children because it is believed that he rescued children from getting killed by a wicked butcher.

In Russia, pilgrims make a 3 day trek from Kirov to the holy statue of St. Nicholas in Velikoretsky; to them, Saint Nicholas is the champion for the disadvantaged.

In the Czech Republic it is believed that angels lower Saint Nicholas with a basket of apples, nuts, and candies down from heaven on a heavy golden cord; Saint Nicholas asks the children about their behavior, an angel keeps record and the anti-Claus threatens to carry bad children away while the angel protects them.

In the Netherlands presents are hidden in unique places and contain poems that would hint to the person’s shortcomings; for the people of the Netherlands it is not the value of the gift that counts, it is the originality.

In Germany, if the children are good Saint Nicholas leaves delicious fruits, nuts, and candies for them; however, if they’ve been bad they wake up to find potatoes, coal, or twigs. Sometimes Saint Nicholas comes to the children’s doors, asking them about their behavior and gives them their presents. In Stuttgart, Germany children dress up as the Christmas saint and go from house to house asking for treats- much like trick-or-treating on Halloween.

To find out more about the big guy in red be sure to visit St. Nicholas Center.

ANTI-CLAUS


Santa Claus is the joyful fat man, so who the hell is the anti-Claus? Well, similarly to Christ versus the anti-Christ… Anti-Claus is one evil son of a bitch. What you also might not know is that we’ve actually celebrated one of the anti-Claus’ on a yearly basis! There’s this ancient fire god named Nimrod throughout Asia Minor who often went by the name “Santa;” well this fire god demanded infant sacrifices to be burned and eaten! Nimrod’s role in the post-flood world was to lure the government to tyranny; he also vowed revenge against God. Oh, Nimrod’s coming to town, you better watch out because he might burn your baby and eat it!

There have been many various takes on the anti-Claus legends as well, particularly Krampus, Black Peter, Knech Rupecht, and Père Fouettard.

Krampus is an evil fertility demon that is often represented as having a long tail, fur, scary goat-faced mask, and a long red tongue… Krampus carries a wooden stick, birch branch or switches to threaten the children who have misbehaved. He is also known to bring bad dreams to all the bad children.

Black Peter was Santa’s menacing assistant who would often dole out coal and knock misbehaved children on the head. He is notable for being the complete physical opposite of Santa Claus, tall and extremely thin with dark beard and hair. In Dutch, Black Peter is known as Zwarte Piet and the legends revolving around him began in 15th century Holland. Piet was associated with pirates and would often stuff naughty children into a large bag and take them to a pirate’s hide, where he would beat them, or on a trip back to Spain. “Black Peter” was a euphemism for the devil, and it was thought that St. Nicholas, being a representative of God, had beaten the devil and made him his servant. In the nineteenth century, that literally became true when Black Peter was represented as an African American slave to the white Santa Claus; his job was to remove the hay and carrots from the shoes that children had left underneath their chimneys and replace them with candy and gifts if the children were good, and a rod in place of a gift for the children who’ve been bad. In parts of central Europe, Black Peter was depicted to look like a monster with horns, long hair and a red tongue. Today the negative associations have left Black Peter and he has become more of an elf-like figure, an assistant to an overloaded St. Nicholas who helps to hand out gifts every December 5th, St. Nicholas Day in Holland.

Knech Rupecht began as a wild foundling whom St. Nicholas raised from childhood. Knech often walks with a limp because of a childhood injury. He is notable for his black clothes and dirty face attained from the soot he collects as he goes down the chimneys. According to some traditions, children would be summoned to perform tricks, a dance or a song to impress Santa and Knech; those who performed badly enough were not just booed off the stage- they and the misbehaved would be put into Ruprecht’s sack and taken away to either Ruprecht’s home in the Black Forest or tossed into a river, never to be heard from again!

The French’s evil Santa Claus is a little more bizarre and disturbing from the rest, Père Fouettard, was said to the butcher of three children. St. Nicholas discovered the murderer and resurrected the three children. He repented Pére and took him on his travels where he would punish the naughty children by whipping them. So, not only was Santa accompanied by an evil anti-Claus, a child murderer was the one summoned to do his dirty work!

The anti-Claus has had many names throughout the years:

Krampus (Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary [spelled Krampusz]), Klaubauf (Bavaria), Bartel (Styria), Pelzebock, Pelznickel, Belzeniggl, Belsnickel (Pennsylvania), Schmutzli (Switzerland), Rumpelklas, Bellzebub, Hans Muff, Drapp or Buzebergt (Augsburg), Hanstrapp (Alsace, East of France), Le Père Fouettard (Northern France), Cert, Andel (Czech Republic) and Zwarte Piet (Netherlands, Flanders).

MEADOWSWEET AND OLD MAN WINTER

Meadowsweet is pretty rare and its the most powerful plant in all of pagan lore. They used meadowsweet for human sacrifice; it was kind of like a chum for their Gods. Gods were drawn to it and they’d stop by and snack on whatever near was human.

During ancient times, pagan Vikings would worship Old Man Winter also known as Father Christmas. This is not to be confused, although it often is, with Santa Claus. Old Man Winter was welcomed into all the Feasting and festivities, being piled with mead and food to try to keep him in a good mood in hopes that these activities would make for a mild winter and a good spring.

CHRISTMAS SUPERSTITIONS

Many Christmas superstitions have appeared over the years, some of which deal with spirits in the supernatural realm…

Evergreens are symbolic of renewed life and the fetching in of green branches is a magical rite to ensure vegetation at winter’s end.

By tradition, Christmas decorations should not be erected prior to Christmas Eve, let this visible proof of anticipation of a festival anger capricious forces. Evergreens especially should never be brought into the house before this time.

Holly is celebrated in lore for its protective powers, being said to be especially effective against witches and lightning. It is also important what kind of holly is brought into the home on Christmas day; prickly holly states that the man will rule the domain while smooth claims that women will reign.

Mistle-toes are rumored to have powers of conception and that a kiss underneath the mistle-toe represents a man symbolically offering to get her child.

In some beliefs, from every dropped pine needle in the house a goblin will spawn.

Christmas lights can also tell us whether or not a person will soon die, on Christmas night look to the shadows that are cast. If a shadow is without a head, that person will die within the year.

Difficulty lighting the candles on Christmas Day is a bad sign because it presages a bad year ahead.

The doors of a home used to be left open at midnight on Christmas Eve to let out any trapped evil spirits.

Dogs that howl on Christmas Eve are fated to go mad by the end of the year.

Those born on Christmas Day will never encounter a ghost, nor will they have anything to fear from spirits. They’re also protected against death from drowning or hanging.

CHRISTMAS SPECIALS!!!


So, now that you what Christmas is all about, lets take a look to the past with a couple of classic Christmas Specials!!! At the link below you can get nestled up next to the fireplace and watch the Christmas specials of old… ranging from The Grinch to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to even the vintage Frosty the Snowman! Some video links on the site don’t work, but- hey- at least it’s something…

101 Christmas Specials

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

I think the best way to end this special INSIDE THE LEGEND is by looking at the poem that started it all, ‘The Night Before Christmas’ written by Clement Clark Moore introduced the world to a legendary figure that would touch the hearts of parents and children alike since 1822, he gave us Santa Claus.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Sam and Dean Winchester, Supernatural.tv, the prose virtual series and Multus Tempestas virtual series team wishes you a Merry Christmas. Happy holiday guys, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger- “We’ll Be Back.”

 

Inside the Legend by Dean5339

 

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