The Wild Hunt on Christmas Eve

Peter Nicolai Arbo’s Asgardreien (The Wild Hunt of Odin), 1872, wikipedia.

Pretend this is the Jeopardy category: Common Bonds. The Wild Hunt, mind control, and the 1871 Polaris disaster. What do they all have in common? Got it? Add in fan fiction, Zwarte Piet, shoemakers, Martin Luther, reliquary theft…. Yes? Norse mythology? Saving girls from prostitution? Louisa May Alcott, Thomas Nast? How about Shadrack, the Black Reindeer?

It is Christmas Eve, after all.

The mythology–the extensive fan fiction, which is what mythology is, isn’t it?–around the legends of Santa Claus and Christmas have roots that go waa-a-a-y beyond the Coca Cola commercial. Although I dug deep into a comparison of Santa and Jesus last year, there are Santa rabbit holes to be discovered. Even if we just talk about Santa and his helpers, there’s plenty that even that Greek scholar and seminarian Clement Moore didn’t envision.

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