Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Not Just Reindeer

Posted by  //  December 8, 2023  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Here in the United States, we celebrate Christmas with animals that are traditionally symbolic of the season—everything from a red-nosed reindeer to a partridge in a pear tree. In countries around the world, however, you’ll find a different, and sometimes surprising, holiday menagerie!

Move over, Rudolph! On Christmas Eve, in the skies over Australia, Santa’s sleigh is pulled by flying kangaroos. Folks down under sing, “Six White Boomers” (a boomer is a male kangaroo). The refrain goes like this: “Six white boomers, snow white boomers, racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun. Six white boomers, snow white boomers, on his Australian run.” 

Meanwhile, in Russia, Santa is called “Ded Moroz,” or Father Frost. Rather than traversing the skies, he covers ground in a wheeled troika pulled by horses, festively harnessed three abreast.

Shortly before Christmas on the winter solstice, Germans celebrate St. Thomas Day with humor. Anyone sleeping late that day, or who arrives to work tardy, is christened “Thomas Donkey.” They are given a cardboard donkey and must endure hours of good natured ribbing. Finally, at day’s end, all is forgiven—and they are treated to frosted currant buns called Thomasplitzchen.

At midnight on Christmas Eve in Bolivia, many families attend Misa de Gallo, or the “Rooster’s Mass,” so named because church goers are returning to their homes near to the time that roosters begin crowing to greet Christmas morning.

Article & photo by Margie Manthey

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