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  • On the 24th of December every year children around the world put out milk and cookies in the hopes of luring a magic fat man into their home who will leave presents behind before sneaking into the house next door.

    毎年 12 月 24 日、世界中の子供たちはあるぽっちゃりした魔法の男を家に誘い込み、隣の家にまた忍び込む前にプレゼントを残してくれるのを期待して、ミルクとクッキーを置いておきます。

  • How did such an odd tradition begin?


  • You can pretty much blame Northern Europe, where the winter weather is cold and dark and depressing.


  • And the coldest and darkest and depressingest day is the Solstice on December 21st or 22nd when the sun only gives a few weak hours of light if any at all.

    最も寒く、暗く、憂鬱な日は 12 月 21 日または 22 日の冬至で、太陽の光があったとしてもかすかに数時間見えるだけです。

  • These sun-deprived people invented magical characters to visit them and lighten the mood by bringing gifts and celebrations.


  • These characters ranged from elves to Gods to goats, but there are two of particular interest to the modern story.


  • The first is St. Nick, in the Netherlands. St. Nick is thin and perhaps a bit stern, but still brings presents to children early in December.

    一人目はオランダのセント・ニックです。セント・ニックは痩せて少し厳格ですが、12 月初旬に子供たちにプレゼントを持ってきます。

  • He dresses like a bishop in red and white with a staff and rides on a horse named Amerigo, for whom Dutch children are encouraged to leave out a carrot. St. Nick is called Sinterklaas in Dutch.


  • The second character is Father Christmas from England. Father Christmas is a big, jolly pagan dressed in green with a holly wreath on his head.


  • Traditionally he is less concerned with children and gifts than he is with food and wine and celebration and is perhaps best known for being one of the three spirits of Christmas who terrorize Scrooge.


  • When Europeans settled the Colonies, St. Nick and Father Christmas and the other characters began to mix together.


  • This explains why the US version has so many names.


  • Santa Claus is the Americanization of Sinterklaas, but he's also called St. Nick and Father Christmas and Kris Kringle which comes from Germany.


  • In the old world these were different characters, but in the new world over time they evolved into one, which you can see happening in older stories.


  • For example, the poem, "The Night Before Christmas" came out in 1823 in New York which established that Santa lands on the roof and fills stocking with toys.

    例えば、『サンタクロースがきた』という詩は 1823 年にニューヨークで出版されましたが、それはサンタが家の屋根の上に降りてストッキングの中におもちゃを入れるということを確立させました。

  • But this Santa is an elf, much like those from the Nordic Countries.


  • He's small and drives a miniature sleigh with tiny reindeerwhich makes a lot more sense for someone whose job description includes fitting down chimneys.


  • Also, the word, "Santa" appears nowhere in the poem. The original title is "A visit from St. Nick."


  • As the 1800s continued, a fat, human looking immortal Santa evolved into the standard among American authors.

    1800 年代を通して、太って人間の外見をした不死身のサンタがアメリカ人作家の間で標準化しました。

  • It was in the states that he gained both his elvish workforce and a wife.


  • By about 1900 Santa had developed his current iconic style.

    1900 年頃までにはサンタは現在の象徴的なスタイルに変化しました。

  • It should be noted that, contrary to popular belief, Coca-Cola didn't change his colors to their corporate scheme.


  • But instead used the conveniently red-and-white Santa in 1931 to help sell more soda during their off season.

    1931 年、閑散期にコーラがもっと売れるように、偶然にも赤色と白色のサンタを使ったのです。

  • Though Coke didn't create him, their omni-present ads probably did brand this as the One True Santa in the minds of millions helping spread him round the world to many cultures with no traditions of winter gift-givers.


  • This American Santa in-turn influenced his relations in Northern Europe to become more like him, although not always to the pleasure of the locals.


  • In particular, the British Father Christmas has been completely assimilated into the Santa collective to the point where many Britons don't realize they were ever separate.


  • In the Netherlands, however, St. Nick is still successfully holding his own as a distinct character.


  • The one last detail about modern Santa that's still up for debate, at least between countries, is where exactly he lives.


  • In the late 1800s his home was the magnetic north pole centered under the aurora borealis.

    1800 年代末期、サンタの家はオーロラのすぐ下の磁北極にありました。

  • While this would be the most diplomatic option for Santa, Magnetic North has since moved off the Polar Ice Sheet and into the Ocean, a rather inconvenient place to set up a toy factory.


  • So Canada claims his workshop is somewhere in Nunavut and has given Santa a post code andno jokeofficial Canadian citizenship.


  • The American response is that the North Pole doesn't refer to the obviously inhospitable sheet of non-domestic ice but rather to the little town of North Pole, Alaska.


  • Denmark claims he lives in their former colony of Greenland. And Greenland, not surprisingly, agrees.


  • The Nordic countries quarrel about his exact location, but Finland is the clear winner of this argument with his workshop in Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle.


  • For the evidence inclined, you can actually go visit Santa there and see the elves, toys, reindeer and post office, which makes Finland's claim pretty strong.


  • Santa is even available during the off season.


  • But, no matter where he might be based, Santa still manages to get around the world in just one night to deliver all those presents...and eat all those cookies.


On the 24th of December every year children around the world put out milk and cookies in the hopes of luring a magic fat man into their home who will leave presents behind before sneaking into the house next door.

毎年 12 月 24 日、世界中の子供たちはあるぽっちゃりした魔法の男を家に誘い込み、隣の家にまた忍び込む前にプレゼントを残してくれるのを期待して、ミルクとクッキーを置いておきます。


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