Different Santa Clauses All Around The World

iceland Yuletide Cat

The word “Santa Claus” means completely different things to different cultures all around the world. Some, you may not even recognize because they’re just so bizarre. Try and see how many of these you can recognize!


Japan Hotei Osho

Japan has a monk named ‘Hotei Osho’ who delivers presents to children. Rumours say he has eyes on the back of his head, watching if children are naught or nice. As a result, many children behave around him.


Brazil Papai noel

Santa to Brazil is ‘Papai Noel’. He lives in Greenland and is often seen wearing silk clothes due to the warm weather.


America Santa Claus

There are many different traditions and legends in the different states. However, commonly, he is known as ‘St Nicholas’ or ‘Santa Claus’. He is known for wearing a red suit, pipe, with his reindeer, and sleigh. He delivers presents to “nice” kids and leaves coal for naughty kids. He flies around the world on December 25th.


Russia Babushka

‘Babushka’ is the Santa Claus for Russia. Her name derives from “grandmother”. Babushka never went with wise men to see Jesus because of the cold weather. As a result, she felt bad and took up the role of delivering presents to good children.


Italy Befana Befania

On January 6th, an ugly but kind witch named ‘Befana’ arrives on a broomstick delivering gifts to good children, and coal to bad children. When Jesus was born, she way busy, and delayed visiting the baby. Since then, she leaves gifts at every house in case Jesus is there.


Africa Santa

There is no specific Santa Claus figure, but the tradition of spreading love and cheer is still in the air. A few days before Christmas, the successful villagers return back and hear out the needs of the village. Often, the gifts are in the form of money. To them, it’s about helping out the community.


Iceland Yuletide Cat

A group of 13 mischievous children named ‘Yule lads’ replace Santa Claus. They place small gifts in the shoes of well-behaved children in the 13 nights. As for the bad children, it’s said that the Yuletide Cat either eats them or gives them a potato.

What does your “Santa Claus” look like?

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  1. Ded Moroz (Grandpa Cold) and Snegurochka (She is the granddaughter of Ded Moroz) are the Russian versions of Santa Claus. Great art though.

  2. Babushka just means “grandma” in Russian, and has nothing to do with Christmas or Santa Claus.

    It’s strange that you included this made up figure in the list when Russia actually has a Santa Claus-like figure called Ded Moroz (Grandpa Frost) who arrives on the new year on a horse-drawn sled with his granddaughter Snegurochka to give presents to children.



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