Sunday, December 20, 2015

Santa Claus or Kris Kringle

Kris Kringle is derived from Christkind and is different than Santa Claus.

A Christmas gift-bringer in Germany. The name "Kris Kringle" is a mispronounciation of the German name; the actual German figure is called "Christkind", "Christkindchen" or "Christkindl" and is derived from the earlier Christkindl, which was introduced by Martin Luther*.

*Born in Germany in 1483, Martin Luther became one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He called into question some of the basic tenets of Roman Catholicism and his followers soon split from the Roman Catholic Church to begin the Protestant tradition.

All of the German names mean "Christ child" and originally refer to the new-born Jesus.

The figure is distinct in origin and tradition from Santa Claus and Father Christmas. The Christkind ("Christ Child") is the traditional Christmas giftbringer in Southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, S├╝dtirol and Liechtenstein. Since the 1990s, the Christkind is facing increasing competition in Germany from the Weihnachtsmann in the American version of Santa Claus.

The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant.

The form "Kris Kringle" is only used in the US. In Germany, it is completely unknown.

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