What Language Does Santa Speak?

Santa sends toys to children all over the world, or so the story goes. But what is his native tongue? Where does Santa live, and what language does Santa speak?  Since we can’t ask the big guy himself, let’s take a look at the evidence. Here, we examine some of the possibilities.

 The North Pole: English or Inuitnoaa3-2006-0602-1206

Every American kid knows that Santa lives at the North Pole. But where is that, really? In real life, the geographic North Pole is a barren wasteland of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. It would be quite difficult to set up a workshop, and feeding all of those reindeer would take significant expense and trouble.

And in a couple of generations, there might not be any sea ice at all. Santa would need an underwater workshop!

The nearest inhabited area to the geographic North Pole is the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada.

Here, people mainly speak Inuit languages like Inuktitut or English.

But the geographic North Pole isn’t the only “North Pole.” For example, there’s also North Pole, Alaska, where you’ll find Santa Claus House. Santa Claus House is an old trading post turned into a Christmas gift shop that also issues “letters from Santa” to children around the world.

Obviously, if North Pole, Alaska were Santa’s headquarters, he would speak English. Or possibly a native Inuit language- if he’s immortal, that would mean he was there before the Canadians and the Americans showed up, right? Read more

5 Creepy Christmas Traditions from Around the World

‘Tis the season to be jolly…but in some parts of the world, Christmas isn’t all “Jingle Bells”  and “Fa La La La’s.” Here are 5 Christmas traditions from around the world that are more creepy than festive.

1. Austria and other Alpine Countries – The Krampus

If you’re good, Santa Claus brings you presents. If you’re bad, he gives you coal or possibly even a switch for your parents to beat you with, right? Right. Unless you live in certain Alpine regions in Europe, including Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. There, the bad kids have to contend with the Krampus, a nightmarish horned demon who basically acts as Santa’s enforcer. The Krampus distributes coal, bundles of birch twigs called “ruten,” and sometimes carries a washtub in which he drowns bad children so he can eat them. Read more

Santa Claus in Different Languages

During the Holiday Season, one man and only one is the centre of attention. Flying in the sky on his magic sleigh, distributing presents all over the world and bringing joy in each home, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa Claus. Ever wonder what Santa is called in different countries?

Here’s your answer (with the literal translation in brackets afterwards if needed) & remember, if you need anything else translated our document translation service is here for you.

Brazil Brazil – Papai Noel

Chile Chile – Viejo Pascuero (Old Man Christmas)

China China – Dun Che Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man)

Denmark Denmark – Julemanden

Finland Finland – Joulupukki

France France – Père Noël

Germany Germany – Weihnachtsmann (Christmas Man)

Greece Greek – Άγιος Βασίλης

Hungary Hungary – Mikulas (St. Nicholas)

Italy Italy – Babbo Natale

Japan Japan – Hoteiosho (A god or priest bearing gifts)

Norway Norway – Julenissen (Christmas gnome)

Poland Polish –  Święty Mikołaj

Portugal Portugal – Pai Natal

Spain Spain – Papa Noel

Romania Romania – Mos Craciun

Russia Russia – Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Turkey Turkey – Noel Baba

Santa Around the World

Santa Claus is the most universally recognised figure around the world, adopted by differing cultures, many of which never see snow from year to year. One of the reasons for his, or her, popularity is the ability to merge with local gift giving customs, resulting in a multitude of hybrids with their own unique traits.

The origin of the story is traced back to Saint Nicholas, born in the Turkish town of Patara and who died in 350AD, having travelled around Roman controlled Palestine and Egypt. He was renowned for his anonymous gifts of gold coins to the needy and this has been traditionally celebrated on the 6th December.

Father Christmas personifies the British version of the tale, dating back to the reign of Henry VIII, and representing the spirit of Christmas. This was reinvented by the Victorians when the Queen popularised the traditions of her German consort Albert, including the first Christmas tree, under which presents too big for stockings, magically appear.

Sinnterklaas in Holland

SinterklaasThe pronunciation of Saint Nicholas in Dutch can be phonetically spelled ‘Sinnterklaas’ from which Santa Claus was derived as settlers headed across to the new lands of America, mixing with many other cultural influences. The gift giving became associated with the Magi, the three wise men who visited the birth of Christ, with German and Scandinavian influences favouring the 24th December.

Iconic pictures and literature became the established version of Santa Claus in a world short of multi-media. The poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ in 1823 set the story of arriving by sleigh on roof tops and climbing down chimneys, while a black and white print by political cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1881 portrays the jolly man in fur lined robes that everyone recognises today. Contrary to urban myth it was not Coca Cola who first changed Santa’s robes from green to red but White Rock Beverages, but it was the former’s brand awareness that made the change permanent.

Today the Dutch version of Sinterklaas retains a close link to the story’s origins and has a much darker side than most. Assisted by Zwarte Piet, he arrives from Spain by boat and then spends three weeks travelling round the country delivering presents to good children by dropping them down chimneys. Those that are found to be on the naughty list are reputedly whipped and thrown into sacks before being carted back to Spain. In the Alpine region of Europe Zwarte Piet is a minor villain compared to Krampus (the Claw) who travels with Santa spreading chaos and misery amongst sinners. He has his own feast day, the fifth of December, when people dress up to scare and play pranks on each other.

Papai Noel in Brazil

Papai-NoelPapai Noel takes over the role in Brazil, with typical flair and style in a country fond of Carnival. Swapping fur trimmed velvet for a more tropical red silk suit he arrives by helicopter at the Maracanã football stadium a few days before Christmas, which is packed with expectant children. Since most houses in the country are built without chimneys the children leave shoes outside to be filled with sweets.

Elsewhere in South America it is el Niño Jesus, the infant Jesus, who brings presents to Mexico, Columbia and Costa Rica. While in Puerto Rico there is a second day of celebration on the Epiphany, to celebrate when the Magi arrive bearing gifts. Children place grass under their beds for the camels on which they travel, and awake to find their kindness rewarded.

Japan, Italy and Sweden

In Japan the Christmas period is traditionally a time for performing charitable work but at New Year the figure of Hoteiosho appears as a fat monk with eyes in the back of his head to spot whether children are being well behaved or not. He carries with him a sack full of toys to reward those he sees fit.

In Italy one of the original pagan characters still survives, a witch who goes by the name of La Befana, who might arrive on Christmas Day or the Epiphany, depending upon the region. A benevolent soul, she brings gifts of sweets and dried fruit, which she leaves in the socks of good children, all others receive a lump of coal as a mark of her displeasure.

For Sweden it is the Julbock, the Christmas goat, who is credited with bringing presents and festive cheer. His origins are derived from the stories of the Norse God Thor, who used two goats Taningnjost and Tanngrisner to pull his chariot through the air, a method of transport that sounds vaguely familiar.

Ded Moroz and Sengurochka

Ded Moroz & SengurochkaThe territories of Eastern Europe are presided over by Ded Moroz, Grandfather Frost, who is assisted by his grand-daughter Sengurochka, the Snow Girl. Carrying a magical staff he travels in a traditional sleigh, drawn by three horses running side by side. Moroz is renowned to have a split personality, rewarding generously those he finds to be honest and hard working, but punishing pitilessly those who are immoral and lazy. He is also known as a highly skilled smith, whose powers include chaining the waters with iron frosts.

So wherever in the World you are this Christmas, Santa Claus and his associates will be visiting somewhere close to you. The concept of rewards for the good and punishment for the bad have been part of folklore for millennia, Saint Nicholas just happens to be the figure to have bound them all together.

Tracking Santa

For the last couple of years you can track Santa around the world using Google, more accurately using the Google Santa Tracker. Its a handy little tool to help the kids (and big kids) watch were he’s been on the big night and the estimated time of arrival at your location (obviously you have to be asleep when he actually comes down your chimney or the magic won’t happen).

track santa with Google

And (bonus) if you go there now there’s an advent calendar with a new game each day to help you pass the time away.

 

Happy New Year in over 150 Languages

Happy New Year everyone. 

Translation of Happy New Year

In alphabetical order (let us know if we’ve missed any).

Happy New Year in: Afrikaans: gelukkige nuwejaar / voorspoedige nuwejaar

Happy New Year in Akposso: ilufio ètussé

Happy New Year in Albanian: Gëzuar vitin e ri

Happy New Year in Alsatian: e glëckliches nëies / güets nëies johr

Happy New Year in Arabic: عام سعيد (aam saiid) / sana saiida

Happy New Year in Armenian: shnorhavor nor tari

Happy New Year in Atikamekw: amokitanone

Happy New Year in Azeri: yeni iliniz mübarək

Happy New Year in Bambara: aw ni san’kura / bonne année

Happy New Year in Basaa: mbuee Read more

Christmas Dinner Around the World

What makes Christmas special? Some would say it’s family, others would say the presents, and still others would say it’s the food.  Whether it’s a Christmas ham, wassail or candy canes, everyone has a favorite holiday delicacy. Like virtually everything else about the holidays, these delicacies vary depending on what part of the world you are in. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting traditional Christmas dinners from around the world.

Malta

After midnight Mass on Christmas, Maltese traditionally unwind with steaming cups of Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, a drink made with chestnuts,  chocolate, orange rind and spices. The tender, whole boiled chestnuts make this much more hearty than your average cup of hot cocoa. If you’re curious, try this recipe.

Slovakia

In Slovakia,  as in many parts of Eastern Europe, Christmas dinner is traditionally served on Christmas Eve and is called velija, which means “vigil.” Traditional fare consists of unleavened bread spread with honey or sometimes garlic (oplatky).  soup, fried fish, sweet or savory baked dough balls known as boblaki, dumplings and sometimes potato pancakes.

Mexico/Latin America

In Mexico and some other Latin American countries, families typically gather for dinner on Christmas Eve.  The menu varies according to region and family, but often includes a red-and-green “Christmas Eve” salad that takes its colors from lettuce, beets, pomegranate and other seasonal ingredients.

Homemade tamales are another seasonal specialty.  Most families have their own recipe. Though the centerpiece of the table is usually turkey with spicy molé sauce, it’s really all about the tamales. Other popular foods include salted cod, a green vegetable called romeritos, and a pork and hominy stew called posole.

Hmmm, I think I may spend Christmas in Mexico next year…

Portugal

In Portugal, too, Christmas dinner happens on Christmas Eve.  The star of the show here is codfish, usually boiled with cabbage and potatoes. For dessert, there’s “king cake,” a brioche-like pastry filled with candied fruits and nuts. Traditionally, a small gift is baked into the cake, as well as a single broad bean. Whoever gets the bean gets to buy the ingredients for next year’s cake! Here’s a recipe.

Spain

Christmas Eve dinner in Spain is an epic meal that often extends into the wee hours of the morning. It starts with tapas, of course, followed by a variety of soups and salads. The main course is usually roast lamb or roast pig, accompanied by various other vegetables, seafood dishes, cured hams and cheeses.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, most families gather on Christmas Day. The morning often starts out with a rich brunch, often including a fruit-studded bread called kerststol. Christmas dinner is also a lavish affair. It is often served “gourmetten” style, using a special grill that allows everyone at the table to grill their own meats and veggies to taste.

We here at K International hope you enjoyed your Christmas holidays! What was your favorite part of Christmas dinner? Share your favorite holiday foods in the comments!

 

Free Translation of Merry Christmas

Every year we get asked to supply the translation for ‘Merry Christmas’ (people like to put it in their Christmas cards). To make this year a truly multilingual festive season we have included the most popular languages below.

Translation of Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas in Chinese Simplified: 圣诞快乐
Merry Christmas in Chinese Traditional: 聖誕快樂
Merry Christmas in French: Joyeux Noël
Merry Christmas in Hindi: क्रिसमस मुबारक
Merry Christmas in Hungarian: Boldog karácsonyt
Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic:
Nollaig shona dhuit” (singular) “Nollaig shona daoibh” (plural)
Merry Christmas in Italian: Buon Natale
Merry Christmas in Japanese: メリークリスマス
Merry Christmas in Lingala: Mbotama Malamu
Merry Christmas in Polish: Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
Merry Christmas in Punjabi:ਕ੍ਰਿਸਮਸ ਦੀਆਂ ਮੁਬਾਰਕਾਂ
Merry Christmas in Russian: С Рождеством!
Merry Christmas in Somali: Kirismas Wacan
Merry Christmas in Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Merry Christmas in Welsh: Nadolig Llawen

or if you prefer…

Translation of Seasons’ Greetings

Seasons’ Greetings in Chinese Simplified: 顺颂时祺
Seasons’ Greetings in Chinese Traditional: 致以季節的問候
Seasons’ Greetings in French: Meilleurs vœux
Seasons’ Greetings in Hindi: हार्दिक शुभ कामनाएँ
Seasons’ Greetings in Hungarian: Kellemes ünnepeket kívánunk
Seasons’ Greetings in Irish Gaelic: “Beannachtaí an tSéasúir”
Seasons’ Greetings in Italian: Buone Feste
Seasons’ Greetings in Japanese: 季節のご挨拶
Seasons’ Greetings in Lingala: Mbote ya esengo na mikolo ya kopema
Seasons’ Greetings in Polish: Wesołych Świąt
Seasons’ Greetings in Punjabi: ਹਾਰਦਿਕ ਸ਼ੁਭ ਕਾਮਨਾਵਾਂ
Seasons’ Greetings in Russian: С праздником!
Seasons’ Greetings in Somali: Salaamaha Xiliyadaha
Seasons’ Greetings in Spanish: Felices Fiestas
Seasons’ Greetings in Welsh: Cyfarchion y Tymor

One last thing…

May we wish all readers of K International Blog a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 🙂

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