Monday, October 11, 2010

Jesus Versus Santa?

So does this mean South Park was on to something all along? A group of Roman Catholics in Germany have launched a campaign to ban Santa Claus in an effort against the commercialization of Christmas.

The church aid organisation Bonifatiuswerk of German Catholics has dismissed Father Christmas as an invention by the advertising industry who has little relation to the historical St Nicholas.

As such, they want to replace the image of Santa as a jolly old man in a red suit with one of a more traditional, charitable St Nicholas, who focuses on kindness and helping others rather than material possessions.

On the group's website, they describe St Nicholas as "a helper in need who reminds us to be kind, to think of our neighbours, and to give the gift of happiness."

The campaign has already garnered support from a number of well-known German celebrities.

As far as real history goes Bonifatiuswerk is right on. The modern form of "Santa" is fundamentally a commercial icon with little spiritual significance, though whether or not this fact makes him a problematic symbol of Christmas is open to debate.

The red-suited, white-bearded Santa Claus who most people are familiar with was first depicted by American author Washington Irving, who drew an image of a jolly Dutchman. This was then modified by a German immigrant called Thomas Nast, who drew a plump Santa with red clothing for Harper's Weekly.

Haddon Sundblom popularised the image when he drew Santa as a grandfather-style figure for Coca-Cola's Christmas advert.

Jesus as usual could not be reached for comment. He was last sighted in a cancer patient's MRI scan.

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1 comment:

Pallas Renatus said...

"Jesus on the brain." lol! I'm a terrible person =p