Wednesday 18 December 2019

The Krampus Kalendar: R is for REINDEER

Did you know that a reindeer calf can outrun a man at only one day old, or that the Finns once measured distance in terms of how far a reindeer could run without having to stop for a pee?

The reindeer is the only deer that can be domesticated, and was the first hoofed animal to be domesticated. It provides the nomadic tribes who live within the Arctic Circle (such as the Lapps) with milk, cheese, meat, fat, clothing, footwear, tools (made from the antlers and bones), highly durable bindings (made from the animal’s sinews) and a means of transport.

In Iceland, reindeer meat (or hreindýr) is becoming an increasingly popular Christmas dinner choice, while the Lapp people of Scandinavia believe that taking powdered reindeer antlers increases virility. Reindeer themselves are vegetarians by choice but when when the supply of greenery runs out they will eat anything, and everything, from eggs and shed antlers, to placenta and even rodents!

Reindeer did not enter the Father Christmas story until the nineteenth century, and it was all the fault of the American Episcopalian minister called Clement Clarke Moore, who composed the famous poem An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas (a.k.a. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas), as a Christmas treat for his own children.

In his poem, Moore had a diminutive elf-like Santa pulled in a miniature sleigh by equally tiny reindeer. At one point Santa reels off their now so familiar names, but which were new to those reading the poem when it first appeared in print back in 1823.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
‘Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!’ 

Those same reindeer appear in 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, and also appear in 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas, which is into its final few days of funding on Kickstarter.


To find out more about the festive season and its many traditions, order your copy of the Chrismologist's Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts today!

The book is also available in the United States as Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Christmas.


No comments: