Odin And Santa: The Norse God Delivered Gifts With An Eight-Legged, Flying Horse

By | December 3, 2019

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Viking stele showing Odin's horse, Sleipnir. Pagan. From Tjangvide, Alskog, Gotland, Sweden. 9th century. Swedish History Museum. Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by: PHAS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Santa Claus that we know today is a fusion of myths, legends, and folklore from several different cultures, from the Turkish bishop Saint Nicholas and the German folktales of Sinterklaas. You know all of those guys, but you might be surprised to learn that the Norse god Odin and Santa are also very similar.

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The yule log tradition comes to us from the Norse. (learningreligions.com)

Christmas Drew From The Scandinavian Jul Celebration

Before Christianity, Scandinavian people celebrated a 12-day winter holiday called jul, from which we get the modern word "yule." Many jul festivities---such as hanging wreaths made of evergreen boughs, singing carols, decorating pine trees, burning a yule log, and hanging sprigs of mistletoe in doorways---were adopted by Christians to make Christmas more palatable to newly converted pagans.