From Nikolaus to Father Christmas to Easter Bunny

Nikolaus
@MALUSE (41234)
Germany
December 10, 2016 9:55am CST
This year ~150 million choccie Nikolauses and Fathers Christmas have been produced in Germany. Superficially, there isn’t much difference between them. Both are portly old men with a white beard clad in a red coat trimmed with white fur and black boots. The genuine Nikolaus figure dressed like a bishop is hard to find. It's been mashed up with Father Christmas and has lost its idiosyncratic character. But there *is* a difference I've just learnt about. An initiative organised by the Catholic Church in Germany wants to help move Nikolaus to the foreground again, at least until 6th December which is the day when he visits children at home and brings them some presents. Then Father Christmas can take over. Postcards show that already in the 19th century a Father Christmas as we know him now existed. Yet, he began to conquer the world only from 1931 onwards when cartoonist Haddon Sundblom designed the figure for an ad campaign for Coca Cola. Nikolaus is much older. Saint Nikolas, aka Nikolaos of Myra, was a Greek bishop of Myra (now Turkey) who lived in the 4th century. He was known for helping the needy clandestinely by leaving gifts in front of their houses. As he was a Christian saint, it's understandable that the Church is interested in saving his reputation from being snowed under mere commercialism. Anyways, what happens when Christmas is over and the shelves in the shops have been cleared of everything Christmassy including choccie Fathers Christmases? What happens is what is happening already now: choccie Easter bunnies are produced. The choccie Fathers Christmas have come to the shops long before Christmas, of course. The day the last has left the choccie factory the casts for the Easter Bunnies are put up. The production has to start early because by the beginning of April 300 million must be produced and standing on the shelved in the shops. I've read that it's a myth that Easter Bunnies are made out of unsold Fathers Christmas. Yet, I don't know what happens with the latter. Maybe they're sent to countries where Orthodox Christians live. They celebrate Christmas two weeks later. The Easter Bunny was 'born' in Germany in 1682. Its 'father' was the medical professor Georg Franck von Franckenau. It left the country with German emigrants. In America, it transformed from its original existence as a hare into a bunny. I bet you all wanted to know this.
21 people like this
19 responses
@Asylum (48273)
• Manchester, England
10 Dec 16
It seems a little late to try to stop him becoming over associated with Christmas commercialism.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
10 Dec 16
Take Christmas out of our business world and the economy will collapse.
3 people like this
@Asylum (48273)
• Manchester, England
10 Dec 16
@MALUSE I disagree because people only have a certain amount of money to spend, so whatever is spent on Christmas simply makes less to spend afterwards.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
10 Dec 16
@Asylum I was thinking of certain branches of the business world which wouldn't exist without Christmas.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (163607)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 16
I am so glad you wrote this post, because I wrote about Saint Nicholas (or Nikolaus) of Myra the last 6th of December and a very few members of myLot knew about this celebration. We celebrate the 6th of December, as they still do in The Netherlands and in some parts of the north of France.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
10 Dec 16
It's high time the non-European members learnt about this! :-)
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (163607)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 16
@MALUSE He was the man who started the gifts tradition and most people do not even know.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
10 Dec 16
@LadyDuck Let's enlighten the ignoramuses!
3 people like this
@amadeo (67747)
• United States
10 Dec 16
thank you so much for sharing this with us.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
10 Dec 16
You're welcome.
1 person likes this
@xFiacre (4582)
• Ireland
10 Dec 16
@maluse So we have the Germans and Americans to blame for all that bunny nonsense. My preference for Christmas is not to have it at all, or maybe to have it once every 10 years. The religious aspect I treat personally quite separately from Santas and snowmen. I like that Europeans do it differently to us - another reason to resist Brexit.
1 person likes this
@1hopefulman (30137)
• Canada
13 Dec 16
Thanks for enlightening the world! Whateve the shape, we must have our chocolate.
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
13 Dec 16
Do you bite off the heads of choccie Father Christmases and Easter bunnies?
1 person likes this
@1hopefulman (30137)
• Canada
13 Dec 16
@MALUSE I did but now I don't anymore. Do you?
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
13 Dec 16
@1hopefulman No, I've never done that. A psychologist could write a paper on this topic.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
6 Jan 17
Wow, I didn't know the Easter bunny was a German thing, that's cool! My new years resolution was to learn something new every day and you have just ticked the box today, vielen dank!
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
6 Jan 17
You're welcome!
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (25890)
• United States
13 Dec 16
I love reading discussions like this......very fun and interesting
@MALUSE (41234)
• Germany
13 Dec 16
I'm hatching another one on the topic of Christmas trees. Watch this space! :-)
• Pamplona, Spain
17 Apr 17
Its nice to have good things to celebrate and Christmas and Easter are one of them.
@JudyEv (126270)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Jan 17
I may not have particularly 'wanted' to know this but I am happy to be a bit more knowledgeable about it all. I haven't seen an Easter bunny yet thank goodness.
@BelleStarr (39056)
• United States
29 Dec 16
Well it seems between the Christmas tree and the Easter Bunny we owe the Germans quite a holiday debt!! lol
@epiffanie (10412)
• Australia
26 Dec 16
Thanks for sharing this .. "Retail Festivals" ..I heard someone call these celebrations ..
@PainsOnSlate (20335)
• Canada
15 Dec 16
No I didn't but I'm glad you shared it. I had no idea what the history was so Thank YOU !
@Inlemay (16654)
• South Africa
15 Dec 16
A lot of great traditions were founded in Germany - YEAH - tomorrow I visit my friend from Belgium's Mom who has brought me a goodie bag full of allsorts of lovely treats from that area. Chocolate mostly. mmmmm Smaaklik
• Trinidad And Tobago
13 Dec 16
Thank you for the lesson ..yep, i want to know about it. (^_^) Actually, it is quite an interesting post.I learn a few things.
@garymarsh6 (14264)
• United Kingdom
12 Dec 16
Shortly after Christmas Easter Eggs appear in the shops here! There is usually a race to get them out. Goodness knows why! The Easter bunny is more of a recent thing in the UK than previously! I blame Lindt myself!
@jstory07 (68297)
• Roseburg, Oregon
11 Dec 16
That was a lot of information that I did not know. Thanks for sharing.
@pgntwo (21758)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
11 Dec 16
Interesting article. It reminds me of this little piece of dialogue between Susan and her grandfather after the race to save the Hogfather: "...you have to learn to believe the little lies in order to be able to believe the really big ones, like justice, mercy, duty..." (paraphrased). Here is a short clip on "belief" from the 2006 film of the book "Hogfather" by the late Terry Pratchett - the complete film is on YouTube if curiosity gets the better of you:
Clip from the Hogfather where Death explains the nature of Belief.
@DianneN (79892)
• United States
10 Dec 16
This was news to me. I'm Jewish.
@Corbin5 (109528)
• United States
10 Dec 16
How nice that the unsold Father Christmases are recycled to produce the wonder Easter Bunnies. So pleased that the Easter Bunny has had a long run! I like the chocolate bunnies, but despise the hard-boiled eggs that darn Easter Bunny brings to children. Never met an egg I liked.