Santa Claus Traditions 'Round the World
In France, children wait in vain for gifts from Pere Noel, who’s usually on strike in December.
Papai Noel is the gift-bringer of Brazil. Legend says he lives in icy Greenland, and by the time he arrives in steamy Sao Paulo, he has stripped down to a Speedo.
Children in China await the arrival of Dun Che Lao Ren (“Christmas Old Man”), who brings toys made with lead.
Children in Denmark leave out saucers of milk and rice pudding for Julemanden and are delighted to find them gone in the morning, since these dairy products would have soured by then anyway.
The Japanese mythical figure of Hoteiosho closely resembles our Santa Claus, but his workshop manufacturing techniques are so efficient that all the toys have been finished by April.
In Sweden, the “tomte” gnome emerges from his hiding place under the floor and asks if he can use the bathroom.
Norway’s gift-bearing gnome, Julebukk, resembles a goat and is capable of eating the Christmas tree and all the ornaments when nobody’s looking.
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