A Real Global Figure: Was the man we know as Santa Claus the original translator?
It’s that time of year again when we are reminded of those virtues the civilized world most prizes: generosity of spirit, goodwill towards all, granting children’s wishes, giving rather than receiving, donating time, energy, talents, service, and dollars, and especially remembering the selfless, the thoughtful, the forgotten, the pious, and the deserving.
How many times have we said, “There’s Santa,” or “Say hello to Santa,” or just plain, “Ohhhhh Sant-ah,” with pleading in our hearts to be recognized with a wave or a dimpled smile? It’s important to know him and be known to him. He is walking, talking goodness, a symbol of our higher, better selves who accepts, includes, and forgives.
In that old film, Miracle on 34th Street released in 1947 by Twentieth Century Fox, Santa, a.k.a. Kris Cringle, portrayed by the magical Edmund Gwenn, goes on trial for “thinking, acting, and believing” he is truly Santa Claus, and therefore a fraud in the modern world. www.imdb.com/title/tt0039628/. There was always one thing that catches the viewer’s eye about that film and makes it relevant today. In the film, children stand in line to greet Santa (the Gwenn character) in Macy’s Department Store, and some children, newly adopted European immigrants to America after the ravages of World War II, do not immediately speak English to Santa. When Santa asks the child’s first language, the child’s face lights up like a lantern as Santa immediately responds to him in Dutch. If one is six or sixty, that’s a powerful moment.
Santa is Papa Noel in Spain
Santa is Kerstman or Sinter Klaas in the Netherlands
Santa is Joulupukki in Finland
Santa is Pere Noel in France
Santa is Jultomten in Sweden
Santa is Black Peter in Morocco
Santa is Papa Noel in Brazil and Peru
Santa is Shengdan Laoren in China
Santa is Santa no ojisan in Japan
Santa is Babbo Natale in Italy
Santa is Grandfather Frost or “ded moroz” in Russia
German children receive presents from Christkindl or Christ Child..”Kris Cringle” is also derived from this expression
Santa is Father Christmas in the United Kingdom
Santa is Hagios Nikolaos in Greece
No matter your first language, we at Apex Translations wish you the happiest of holidays and a prosperous, letter-perfect New Year!