Santa’s Shamanic Origins

[[Note: this originally appeared on the Discover the Practive website]]

Some people know that the modern Santa concept (heavy male, white hair, red suit, et cetera) was created by the Coca-Cola company as part of a marketing campaign; Coca-Cola wanted to get children as a market but were forbidden by law from directly marketing to them. Their solution was to create a character that benefitted children (gave gifts) and the children in return would reward this giftgiver with a bottle of Coke. So we weren’t marketing to children, but if those kiddies wanted to get gifts…

Coca-Cola's Santa

 
The nearest “historic” Santa was the 19th century Bokkerijders, a group of Belgian laborers who performed Robin Hood like acts. The church denounced their activities as Satanic although the poor appreciated waking to gifts of food and money on their doorsteps. Prior to that, a St. Nicholas myth comes from the Slavic countries. There, St. Nicholas had a “Dark Helper” who was dressed in black, had horns and pointed ears, all based on Santa’s shamanic origins.
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