November 30, 2017
In North America, Santa Claus is known as a jolly old man who wears a red suit with a big white beard and delivers gifts from his sleigh pulled by reindeer on Christmas Eve. BUT, the magical gift giving tradition is different around the world. This year, Marlborough mall is celebrating a number of different holiday figures! On now until December 24th, we will be introducing you to to four figures from all over the world, and you could win a $200 gift card by snapping a selfie with one of them!
This is Yul Tomten (Jultomten), also known as Nisse (say “NEE-seh”), who is similar to North America’s Santa Claus in Scandinavia! Can you guess how he delivers gifts on Christmas Eve and what he likes to receive instead of cookies and milk?
Yul Tomten prefers porridge with butter instead of milk and cookies! This photo was taken in Sweden, a Scandinavian country that Yul Totem visits. The legend of Yul Tomten (Jultomten), started out as simple house gnomes protecting children and animals from misfortune and even doing house chores. Over time they have come to look a lot more like the traditional Santa Claus of North America, with a red cap and white beard, although not quite as tall. The people of Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Finland and Norway believe that this small character lives in the woods just outside of their homes rather than in the North Pole!
While Santa Claus is quite well-known in Latin America and Spain, the real stars are Los Reyes, or the Three Kings, who are celebrated on January 6 on El Día de los Reyes. The Three Kings, also known as Wise Men, followed the North Star to meet Baby Jesus and offer three symbolic gifts. While celebrations vary in many parts of the world, boys and girls begin to write letters to the Three Kings in December. Can you guess what they write in their letters?
Boys and girls in Latin America write to the Three Kings about things they would like to receive on January 6th and whether or not they have been good or bad that year. Just like Santa’s naughty or nice list, children receive presents if they have been good and coal if they have been bad. Sometimes there is even a big parade when the Kings listen to the kid’s requests. On the night of January 5th, children put their shoes by the door so the Three Kings know how many kids live there. They also put out food and drink for The Kings, and water for their camels. In the morning, presents are found with the shoes, and all the food and drink is gone!
In Italy, La Befana is a friendly old woman with magical powers who delivers toys to good kids and coal or ash to the bad ones by coming in through the chimney…Instead of the cookies Santa loves, La Befana prefers something less sweet!
La Befana, the friendly woman who delivers toys in Italy, prefers sausage and wine to be left instead of cookies and milk! Parents will leave a plate and glass out for her to enjoy on her travels. La Befana travels by broom rather than sleigh and is very courteous, sweeping up any mess she might make around the fireplace.
Meet Dun Che Lao Ren. He is an important man in China, similar to Santa Claus in North America! Although Chinese New Year is a much bigger celebration, traditionally Christian children in China hang muslin stockings hoping they’ll be filled with treats. Christmas trees are also called something different.
Christmas Trees in China are referred to as, “‘Trees of Light’, which are decorated with beautiful paper lanterns, chains and flowers. The gift giving tradition at this time of year is also growing in popularity in China.
Stop by Santa Land at Marlborough Mall & snap a selfie with these holiday figures! Post it to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, tag @marlboroughmall and use the hashtag #MBMWins - you could win a $200 gift card. Hurry, you have until December 24th!
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