The Santa Claus myth has four intertwining origin stories: Yule, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Sinter Klaas.
The whole thing pre-dates Christianity. A Germanic-Pagan Lollapalooza-style festival, scholars think Yule took place from what’s now late-November through early January. It was a big, religious thing – there were feasts, there were sacrifices, and there was a whole bunch of drinking.
During this Yule-time, supernatural events supposedly started happening a lot more often than they usually did, which was apparently more often than never. One of these supernatural events was called the Wild Hunt, which was a “ghostly procession through the sky.”
Sadly, cameras didn’t exist yet.
Oftentimes, Odin, a Germanic Pagan God, led the procession alongside his eight-legged horse. Odin was depicted as having a long white beard. He also brought gifts to his people, sort of like another bearded guy we know.
So that’s origin one. This episode, we’ll get deep into all of the rest of it: everything from St. Nicholas to would-be prostitutes, from child bishops to children in barrels. We’ll even (briefly) discuss this guy:
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