Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St Nick + Yeti = Santa

Okay, we have been accused of comparing Bigfoot to the European Wildman, The Jolly Green Giant, Enkidu from the Epic of Gilgamesh, even the werewolf. But Santa Clause? Come on BLC you go too far! Well, I can assure you, "Oh no we did-ent!"

The blame/honor/responsibility goes to Jeffrey Vallance of LA Weekly. In an article aptly titled "SANTA IS A WILDMAN!" he writes a riveting tale in the exploration of Santa's Origins. From the Bishop-become-Saint Nicholas to The Snämannen(snowman) a dark, Scandinavian ape-like creature covered in thick, dirty, stinky hair — more like the abominable snowman.

So you see we can hardly be blamed for making such an association when Mr. Vallance did it so eloquently himself.

Heres an excerpt about St. Nicholas:
ACCORDING TO ECCLESIASTICAL LEGENDS, St. Nicholas (A.D. 280-343) was born in Patara, Lycia (Turkey today). Nicholas became Bishop of Myra and was known for performing many miracles. One story tells how Nicholas preserved the chastity of three young girls. The saint discovered that a poverty-stricken man was about to sell his three virgin daughters into child prostitution. In the night, Nicholas threw three orbs of gold down the man's chimney, thus saving the girls from their unspeakable plight. From this source we now have Santa going down the chimney as well as the gleaming, orb-like Christmas-tree ornament.

In A.D. 540, an ornate basilica was constructed over St. Nicholas' humble tomb in Myra. In A.D. 800, the saint's legend was brought to Scandinavia by the Vikings, where it merged with much older pagan myths of trolls and elves.

And here is the Yeti-like Creature of Scandinavia:
A TYPE OF WILDMAN, THE SNÄMANNEN (snowman) purportedly inhabits northern Scandinavia in Lapland, including the Arctic regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as Russian Lapland (the Kola Peninsula) and Siberia. The Lapp Snowman is not to be confused with the Christmas character Frosty the Snowman, a huge snowball with coal (soot) for eyes and mouth, a carrot for a nose, holding a broom like a chimney sweep. The Snämannen is described as a dark, ape-like creature covered in thick, dirty, stinky hair — more like the abominable snowman. His face is broad with prominent brow ridges, nose pressed flat, and a mouth that juts out from a huge jaw. His arms are larger than a man's, and his feet are enormous, with hairless soles. In mountainous regions, the Snämannen's coat turns silver or snow-white in winter. Snämannen's favorite food is cranberries.

Like the miraculous relationship between Peanut butter and Chocolate, those Scandinavians also saw the awesome value of combining two great things made even better by combining them:
When I first arrived in the Land of Hoarfrost, I was puzzled by the enigmatic heraldic symbol of Lapland, the wildman — a hairy, reddish, bestial character dressed in leaves, wielding a gnarled club. To me he looked like a typical prehistoric caveman or the Jolly Green Giant. I collected vague reports of an actual Swedish wildman (Snömannen), a yeti-like creature believed to inhabit the remote areas of the forest. One day when wandering through the wilds of Lapland, I beheld an astonishing thing: a colossal statue of the wildman painted bright red with a snowy white beard. From a distance it looked like Santa Claus. As I stood at the base, staring up at the Herculean statue, it hit me like a hunk of red-hot ejecta from Mount Hekla: Santa Claus, the wildman and Snömannen must spring from the same ancient source. I determined to find the connections between these enigmatic characters.

Still not conviced? Jeffrey Valance even produced a lovely Santa Family Tree. Click to enlarge.

I insist you read the original LA Weekly Article here
And you can read Mr. Vallance's other articles here

Mr. Jefferey Vallance Bigfoot Lunch Club Salutes you!

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