The historical past of the jolly reward bearing previous man of Christmas dates again centuries however he’s a comparatively late addition to the festive scene in France. Margo Lestz appears at how Pere Noel, Father Christmas, got here to have his personal division within the publish workplace in France and develop into one of the crucial fashionable characters within the nation…
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The historical past of Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, dates again to the 4th century, when a priest from the realm that’s now Turkey got here on the scene. He was identified for his generosity and is alleged to have carried out miracles. He finally grew to become Saint Nicholas, the protector saint of youngsters.
The legend developed over the centuries that on December sixth, St Nicholas would descend from the sky on his donkey (or generally on a white horse), go into homes by means of the chimney and depart presents for well-behaved kids. The kids would depart their sneakers, in these days wood clogs known as sabots, by the fireside with some carrots or apples for St Nicholas’ donkey (who was known as Gui, which means mistletoe). Gui would eat his snack after which St Nicholas would depart some sweets within the sneakers for the youngsters to find the subsequent morning. Generally he was accompanied by a much less form character, Father Whipper (Père Fouettard) who would punish the dangerous kids.
This donkey-riding saint was the forerunner to the Santa Claus we all know and love immediately.
At the moment’s Father Christmas
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The current-day model of Santa Claus began to take form in New York within the early 1800s. A ebook was printed as a New 12 months’s reward for kids which contained a poem known as, Outdated Santeclaus (Sinter Klaas being the Dutch identify for Saint Nicholas). Within the poem, Santeclaus was an previous man who delivered presents to kids on a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
In 1823, the poem, The Night time Earlier than Christmas firmly embedded the picture of St Nicholas, or Santa Claus, within the American creativeness. This poem gave the reindeer their names and made St Nicholas, a jolly chap with “slightly spherical stomach that shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!” Thomas Nast, an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly journal, drew a sequence of illustrations for Christmas based mostly on these concepts and gave the general public an actual glimpse of Santa Claus. Nash can be chargeable for establishing Santa’s dwelling because the North Pole.
However the true public relations enhance for Santa got here in 1931 when Coca-Cola gave Haddon Sundblom the duty of discovering an emblem for his or her Christmas promoting marketing campaign. He regarded to the sooner illustrations of St Nicholas, accentuated his jolliness, and dressed him in pink and white – the colors of Coca-Cola. Up till this time Santa had quite a lot of clothes in his wardrobe. He had been seen in lots of outfits, together with the now well-known pink go well with with white fur, and patriotic stars and stripes. However due to Coca-Cola’s very efficient advertising, their model of Santa Claus grew to become the American Santa Claus.
Father Christmas arrives in France…
And that is the Santa who got here to France after the Second World Battle, together with different American merchandise similar to Coca-Cola and chewing gum. He’s identified in France as Père Noël (Father Christmas) and he introduced with him the commercialisation of the Christmas vacation.
The Catholic Church, which was nonetheless fairly robust in France, took a dim view of this jolly fellow’s arrival. Up till the Fifties, the nativity scene had been the image of Christmas and so they needed to maintain it that approach. The non secular leaders had been particularly upset by the truth that Père Noël and his Christmas tree had been allowed in French colleges, whereas Nativity scenes had been banned. France being a rustic the place church and state are separate, allowed no non secular symbols within the colleges. However since neither Père Noël nor Christmas timber (sapin de noël) had been non secular symbols they had been permitted. Emotions ran so excessive that in 1951 an effigy of Père Noël was burned in effigy in entrance of the cathedral in Dijon, Burgundy. It didn’t cease the colorful character’s reputation rising in France.
Father Christmas’s French Put up Workplace Division
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At the moment, Father Christmas is thought and beloved all around the nation. He even has his personal division within the French publish workplace to deal with all of the letters acquired at vacation time. The place, Secretary of Father Christmas, was created in 1962 within the “useless letters” division of the publish workplace in Paris. At the moment, all letters addressed to Père Noël go to Libourne, in south-west France, the place every one is answered with a postcard – by regulation.
A workers of 60 secretaries handles his correspondence and within the years because the division’s creation, the variety of letters has gone from 5,000 to 1.4 million letters (and emails) per 12 months. It doesn’t matter what handle is on the letter, it should find yourself within the fingers of Père Noël’s secretary.
The primary postcards mentioned, “My pricey little one, your good letter introduced me pleasure. I’m sending you an image of me. You may see that the postman discovered me, he’s fairly intelligent. I get numerous requests and I don’t know if I can deliver you what you requested for. I’ll strive, however I’m very previous and generally I make errors. You must forgive me. Be good, work arduous. I ship you an enormous kiss. Père Noël. “
However the world is altering and Father Christmas has to maintain up with the instances and in 2009 the postcard was up to date. Now kids are invited to go to Père Noël’s web site to play interactive video games and ship an e-mail with their listing of desired presents. However for individuals who nonetheless need to write letters, massive pink particular supply publish containers seem round French cities at vacation time, only for these letters to Père Noël.
Margo Lestz lives in Good, France the place she likes to bask within the sunshine, examine the French language and weblog as thecuriousrambler. Margo says “Life is rarely boring and I study one thing new day by day… and there are all the time surprises”.
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