Christianity syncretized him with the Christian bishop of Greek origin called Nicholas. He lived in the fourth century in Anatolia, in the valleys of Lycia (in present-day Turkey).
Santa Claus was not a bishop with the name of St. Nicholas, as many assume. The original Nicholas was rather the Celtic god Odin. Its roots go back to the Babylonian ruler Nimrod. In the more Catholic areas, he is the Christ Child. In rather Protestant areas or atheist households, is the Father Christmas.
Until about 1535 this question did not matter. It was not until Martin Luther ordered that only the holy Christ should bring good gifts. He was now the gift bringer among the Catholics, and with the Protestant, it became the Santa Claus.
Wodan is a god of wisdom and knowledge in Germanic mythology. He was a wanderer between the worlds and a god of intoxication. Like the Christmas man, he walks among the people from house to house. Through this, he checks people for their respectability.
Most of them know Wodan as a figure from the Christmas season. Under the name Knecht Ruprecht or Krampus. The church had declared the pagan god a demon and made him the servant of St. Nicholas and Father Christmas.
Odin led a large hunt across the sky over his great eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. From this legend would come the custom of Santa Claus to cross the skies on a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
It was customary for children to fill boots with food so that Odin's horse, Sleipnir, could eat. Odin then replaced the food with gifts and sweets as a sign of gratitude. Today, children hang stockings in the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill them with candy. and leave cookies or milk for their reindeer.
Santa Claus under the mask is a forgotten god, a mysterious vagabond of the times. It has been in all ages and in all civilizations presenting with a different disguise. In the Nordic tradition, we find Odin who in Yule's day gave gifts to his people on his flying horse. Within the same tradition, we find Tomte a kind spirit who gives gifts to children at that time of year.
Another winter deity is the Holy King a Celtic god of the old year and Ded Moroz a Russian god of this season. In Finland, we find Joulupukki that comes to represent the darkest aspects of the god of the winter. This being was dressed in goatskins and horns that every winter terrified the children. Over time the figure of Joulupukki gave way to the kind Santa Claus.
There is a whole mythology around Santa that goes from his home in the North Pole with his elves. Mrs. Claus is his mystical partner. His own heroes are Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer and Frosty, The Snowman and even his own demons.
But how is it related to Christmas gifts? In ancient Rome, during Saturnalia, the children received gifts from the elders. There were also others, such as that of children receiving gifts from a fairy named Befana. In Catalonia and some areas of Aragon is a "magic" trunk, called Tio or Tio de Nadal or sometimes Cagatius. By striking it expels gifts and sweets.
Why am I writing all this? Do I want to dismantle the biggest celebration of the Western world and Christianity? I want to show you that all our traditions have diverse roots that connect us all. The peoples of our ancestors have influenced each other as much as they are today. Traditions are never threatened. A tradition gets maintained as long as it is important for people. But it is no longer.
I like to repeat myself. I am glad that the tradition of the human sacrifices of the ancient Teutons has got abandoned. There were always traditions that have developed or got abandoned. But everyone can decide for themselves.
The Nikolaus cult began its triumph in Scandinavia in the twelfth century. The historical person of the saint mingled with Nordic, pagan myths and winter gods. In the 17th century, Sinterklaas finally migrated to the new world. It finally shakes off its sacred past. Since 1822, Santa Claus has been traveling with two reindeer in front of his sleigh.
Santa Claus also changed the somewhat bulky bishop's cap to a more windy and warmer head cover. After all, he had to speed up with the population explosion. It is also little known that Santa Claus, at least once, changes the animals. So, coming to Australia, six white kangaroos pull the sled.
The agaric is a poisonous psychoactive mushroom that appears in many parts of the world. It was a divine narcotic or the elixir mushroom of immortality. It got used more than 3,500 years ago by the Aryans in the Indus Valley. They praised its energetic and intoxicating qualities.
The effects of Amanita muscaria include, among others, euphoria, drunkenness, imbalance, and nausea.
The shamans and healers of Siberia ate amanitas. They used percussion and singing to enter into a trance. Amanita muscaria was also ingested by ordinary people who got drunk on it.
One of the tasks of these shamans of Siberia was to distribute the coveted mushrooms. The shamans and members of the tribe dried them by hanging them from the pines or let them rest near the fire.
With the passing of the years, this custom has been able to mutate into the popular culture. It gave rise to the myth of a personage who brings presents in dates close to the winter solstice.
It also gives rise to the myth of the flying reindeer. It could be also fueled by a hallucination from consumption of Amanita.