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Christmas gift-bringers around the world


Christmas gift-bringers around the world

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Many fictional Christmas gift-bringers exist around the world.


Christmas gift-bringers around the world

Europe and North America

The Dutch Sinterklaas at his arrival in the town of Sneek in the northern Netherlands, in November 2005.
The Dutch Sinterklaas at his arrival in the town of Sneek in the northern Netherlands, in November 2005.
Soviet-era Ded Moroz on a New Years postcard.
Soviet-era Ded Moroz on a New Years postcard.
A white Dutch woman in blackface costume and afro wig as Zwarte Piet, Sinterklaas' helper.
A white Dutch woman in blackface costume and afro wig as Zwarte Piet, Sinterklaas' helper.

Throughout Europe and North America, Santa Claus is generally known as such, but in some countries the gift-giver's name, attributes, date of arrival, and even identity varies.

  • Austria: Christkind ("Christ child")
  • Belgium: "Santa Claus", called Pre Nol by French speakers and Kerstman("Christmas Man") by Flemish speakers, is celebrated on Christmas day;Sinterklaas for the Flemish speakers, Saint Nicholas for the French speakers is celebrated on December 6th and his a distinct character with a more religious, catholic touch.
  • Bulgaria: Дядо Коледа (Dyado Koleda, "Grandfather Christmas"), with the Russian-borrowed version of Дядо Мраз (Dyado Mraz, "Grandfather Frost") being somewhat more widespread in Socialist times from the end of WWII until 1989 but generally out of favour nowadays
  • Canada: Santa Clause (among English speakers); Le Pre Nol ("Father Christmas"), among French speakers
  • Croatia: Djed Boićnjak ("Grandfather Christmas"), used to be Djed Mraz (Grandfather Frost - Serbian term) before 1990, Mali Isus ("Baby Jesus"), Sveti Nikola ("Saint Nichlaus") bringing gifts or rod on December the 6th
  • Czech Republic: Jeek (diminutive form of Je ("Jesus"))
  • Denmark: Julemanden
  • Estonia: Juluvana ("Old man of Christmas")
  • Finland: Joulupukki ("Yule Goat")
  • France: Le Pre Nol ("Father Christmas"); Pre Nol is also the common figure in other French-speaking areas)
  • Germany: Weihnachtsmann or Nikolaus ("Christmas Man"); Christkind in southern Germany
  • Greece: Άγιος Βασίλης ("Saint Basil")
  • Hungary: Mikuls ("Nicholas"); Jzuska or Kis Jzus ("child Jesus")
  • Iceland: Jlasveinn. In Icelandic folktales, there are 13 Santa Clauses.
  • Ireland: Daid na Nollag ("Father Christmas") among Irish speakers
  • Italy: Babbo Natale ("Father Christmas"); La Befana (similar role as Santa Claus; she rides a broomstick rather than a sleigh, although she is not normally considered a witch); Ges Bambino ("Baby Jesus"); Santa Lucia (A child saint "operating" in the Northern regions, bringing gift on December the 12th. As well as the Befana, an old lady, comes out on the Epifany, Jan 6th)
  • Latvia: Ziemassvētku vecītis
  • Liechtenstein: Christkind
  • Lithuania: Kalėdų Senelis
  • Luxembourg: Klaussenhofer
  • Macedonia: Dedo Mraz
  • Netherlands "Santa Claus", called Kerstman ("Christmas Man"), is celebrated on Christmas day; Sinterklaas is celebrated on December 5th and his a distinct character with a more religious, catholic touch.
  • Norway: Julenissen
  • Poland: Święty Mikołaj / Mikołaj ("Saint Nicholas")
  • Portugal: Pai Natal ("Father Christmas")
  • Romania: Moş Crăciun ("Old Man Christmas")
  • Russia: Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz, "Grandfather Frost")
  • Scotland: Bodach na Nollaig (Scots Gaelic: Old Man of Christmas)
  • Slovakia: Mikul
  • Slovenia: Bozicek
  • Spain: Pap Noel (Father Noel); the Ti de Nadal in Catalonia; Olentzero in the Basque Country. A more common and traditional christmas present-giving figure in Spain are "Los Reyes Magos" ("The Three Kings"; "Magi").
  • Serbian: Deda Mraz (Grandfather Frost)
  • Sweden: Jultomten ("The Yule/Christmas Gnome")
  • Switzerland: Christkind
  • Turkey: Noel Baba ("Father Noel")
  • United Kingdom: Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas though they were originally two quite different people, and Father Christmas did not originally bring gifts
  • United States: Santa Claus; Kris Kringle; Saint Nicholas or Saint Nick
  • Wales: Sin Corn

Latin America

Santa Claus in Latin America is generally referred to with different names from country to country.

  • Argentina: Pap Noel, El Nio Dios
  • Brazil: Papai Noel
  • Chile: Viejito Pascuero
  • Colombia: El Nio Dios ("God child")
  • Costa Rica: San Nicols or Santa Clos
  • Dominican Republic: Santa Clos/Pap Noe
  • Ecuador: El Nio Dios ("God child"), Pap Noel
  • Mexico: Santa Claus (pronounced "Santa Clos"); El Nio Dios ("God child," in reference to Jesus).
  • Peru: Pap Noel

East Asia

People in East Asia, particularly countries that have adopted Western cultures, also celebrate Christmas and the gift-giver traditions passed down to them from the West.

  • China: 圣诞老人
  • Hong Kong: 聖誕老人 (literally 'The Old Man of Christmas')
  • Indonesia: Santa Claus or Sinter Klass (from Netherland Pronunciation )
  • Japan: サンタクロース (Santa Kuroosu, or Santa-san)
  • Korea: 산타 클로스 (Santa Harabeoji, or "Grandfather Santa")
  • Philippines: Santa Claus
  • Taiwan: 聖誕老人 or 聖誕老公公 (both literally 'The Old Man of Christmas')
  • Thailand: ซานตาคลอส (Santa Claus)
  • Vietnam: ng Gi N-en (literally 'The Old Man of Christmas')

Central Asia

  • India: ಸಾ೦ಟಾ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ (in southern India)
  • Tatarstan: Qış Babay/Кыш Бабай (Winter Grandfather)
  • Uzbekistan: Qor Bobo (Snow Grandfather)

Africa and the Middle East

Christians in Africa and Middle East who celebrate Christmas generally ascribe to the gift-giver traditions passed down to them by Europeans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Descendants of colonizers still residing in these regions likewise continue the practices of their ancestors.[1]

  • Egypt: Baba Noel
  • Iran: Baba Noel
  • Israel: סנטה קלאוס
  • South Africa: Sinterklaas; Father Christmas; Santa Claus


  • Australia: Father Christmas; Santa Claus
  • New Zealand: Father Christmas; Santa Claus

See also: Christmas worldwide

Home | Up | Origins of Santa Claus | Santa Claus rituals | Santa Claus on film | Christmas gift-bringers around the world

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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