Mythologist Helene Adeline Guerber presents a very convincing case tracing Santa to the Norse god Thor in Myths of Northern Lands:Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people. He was represented as an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was the fire, his color red.
The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horseback but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god.
He was said to live in the "Northland" where he had his palace among icebergs.
By our pagan forefathers he was considered as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming the humans but rather helping and protecting them. The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire. (Guerber, H.A. Myths of Northern Lands. New York: American Book Company, 1895, p. 61)
The unusual and common characteristics of Santa and Thor are too close to ignore.
- An elderly man, jovial and friendly and of heavy build.
- With a long white beard.
- His element was the fire and his color red.
- Drove a chariot drawn by two white goats, named called Cracker and Gnasher.
- He was the Yule-god. (Yule is Christmas time).
- He lived in the Northland (North Pole).
- He was considered the cheerful and friendly god.
- He was benevolent to humans.
- The fireplace was especially sacred to him.
- He came down through the chimney into his element, the fire.
Even today in Sweden, Thor represents Santa Claus. The book, The Story of the Christmas Symbols, records:Swedish children wait eagerly for Jultomten, a gnome whose sleigh is drawn by the Julbocker, the goats of the thunder god Thor. With his red suit and cap, and a bulging sack on his back, he looks much like the American Santa Claus. (Barth, Edna. Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights, The Story of the Christmas Symbols. New York: Clarion Books, 1971, p. 49)
Thor was probably history’s most celebrated and worshipped pagan god. His widespread influence is particularly obvious in the fifth day of the week, which is named after him – Thursday (a.k.a. Thor’s Day).
It is ironic that Thor’s symbol was a hammer. A hammer is also the symbolic tool of the carpenter – Santa Claus. It is also worth mentioning that Thor’s helpers were elves and like Santa’s elves, Thor’s elves were skilled craftsman. It was the elves who created Thor’s magic hammer.
In the Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, author Francis Weiser traces the origin of Santa to Thor: "Behind the name Santa Claus actually stands the figure of the pagan Germanic god Thor." (Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952, p. 113)
After listing some the common attributes of Thor and Santa, Weiser concludes:Here, [Thor] then, is the true origin of our "Santa Claus." . . . With the Christian saint whose name he still bears, however, this Santa Claus has really nothing to do. (Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952, p. 114)
Another interesting trait of Thor is recorded by H.R. Ellis Davidson in Scandinavian Mythology, "It was Thor who in the last days of heathenism was regarded as the chief antagonist of Christ." (Davidson, H.R. Ellis. Scandinavian Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1982, p. 133) In case you are not aware, an "antagonist" is an
enemy, adversary or replacement.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Is Santa Claus Really Thor? Is Thor Really Satan?
SANTA CLAUS: The Great Imposter
Posted by Paul Brian McCoy at 2:26 PM