For several years Google enters the Christmas atmosphere putting itself in hot pursuit of the man dressed in red, who delights to deliver gifts around the world. Who are we talking? Santa Claus, of course. This year also Google does not disappoint all those who impatiently await the arrival of the beloved Santa Claus.
Google Santa Tracker accompanies Santa Claus on his journey to December 25, helping him back into shape and trained for the event thanks to new mini-games and apps for web and goodies that Google will add over time. In addition, this year the map is enriched with two new sections: Explore Section and Learn section.
The first will take us to discover the typical places of Santa's life as a likeable Northern Pole airport, the second one will be able to teach us the Christmas traditions of almost all countries of the world. How can we track Santa on his journey and help him prepare between elves and gifts? Simple: we can follow the path into the village on the web, to the sound of mini-games or Android app thanks to an extension of Chrome!
Google Santa Tracker can follow Santa's journey through Google Maps and explore the village of the elves who help Santa Claus. A countdown accompanies the daily games to lead up to the magic of the Christmas Day as everyday it releases a game, a video, a quiz or something of that kind, always in Christmas theme.
Santa Claus is a figure present in many cultures who distributes gifts to children, usually the evening of Christmas Eve. Santa Claus is an important element of traditional Christmas of Western civilization, as well as in America, in Japan and other parts of the East Asia.
Before his conversion to Christianity, the folklore of the Germanic people, including the English one was said that Odin (Wodan) annually held a great hunt in the period of the winter solstice (Yule), accompanied by the fallen warriors. The tradition was that children left their boots near the fireplace, filling them with carrots, straw or sugar to feed the horse of the god steering wheel, Sleipnir. In return, Odin would replace the food with gifts or candy. This practice has survived in Belgium and the Netherlands also in Christian times, associated with the figure of St. Nicholas.
The children, even today, the fireplace hang their shoes filled with straw on a winter night, because to be filled with sweets and gifts by St. Nicholas - unlike Santa Claus, in those places the saint still arrives on horseback. Even in appearance, the old bearded mysterious air, Odin was similar to St. Nicholas.
The Germanic tradition arrived in the United States through the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, renamed by the British in New York, before the British conquest of the seventeenth century, and is the origin of the habit of modern hang a stocking at Christmas fireplace.
Another folkloric tradition of the Germanic tribes tells the story of a holy man struggling with a demon which can be, from time to time, a devil, a troll or the figure of Krampus or a dark man killed in dreams or Blackman pitchman. The legend tells of a monster that terrorized the people creeping into houses through the chimney during the night, attacking and killing the children horribly.
The holy man set out in search of the demon imprisoning him with the magical knife. Obliged to obey the orders of the saint, the demon is forced to move from house to house to make amends by bringing gifts to children. In some cases the good action is repeated every year, in others the demon remains so disgusted he preferred the return to prison.
Other forms of narrative are the demon converted to orders of the saint, which gathers with him the other elves and goblins, then becoming Santa. A different Dutch version says, however, that the saint is helped by Mori slaves, which are usually represented by the character of Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). In these stories Zwarte Piet beat children with a stick or kidnaps them to bring them to Spain in his sack.
In Germany, the same story turns the character in Pelznickel or Belsnickle (Nicola Peloso), who goes to find the naughty children in his sleep. The name comes looking huge beast because it is entirely covered with fur.
Icelanders like to say that from them there are as many as 13 Santa Claus because their tradition of Christmas gifts is based on 13 goblins, called Yule Lads, whose names are derived from the type of activity or food they prefer Stekkjastaur, Giljagaur, Stúfur, Þvörusleikir, Pottaskefill, Askasleikir, Hurðaskellir, Skyrjarmur, Bjúgnakrækir, Gluggagægir, Gáttaþefur, Ketkrókur and Kertasníkir.
Once a year, two weeks before Christmas, these elves before they swim in the warm waters of the lake Niva sources, and leave the caves where they live to bring the Icelandic children good gifts. These are put in the shoes that children have left under the windows. In practice, the Icelandic children, if they were good, they receive thirteen gifts, one for each day of the two weeks leading up to Christmas. These goblins, however, can be mischievous and sometimes enjoy doing jokes or spying on humans. In addition, if the child has been naughty, she receives in place of potatoes gifts.
Christmas today brings together the pre-modern representations of the bearer of gifts, faith-based or popular, with a pre-existing British character. The latter dates back at least to the seventeenth century, and it remained the vintage illustrations in which is represented as a bearded and burly gentleman, dressed in a green robe down to his feet and adorned with fur. He represented the spirit of Christmas goodness, and is located in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, named Spirit of Christmas present.
The reindeer appears with Santa Claus since the tradition has that a character coming from Northern Europe. The reindeer was sacred to Isa or Disa, the great mother of the Scandinavians. In northern Europe the reindeer often takes the meaning of the lunar symbol, like all other deers, so it funerary roles and guide the souls of the deceased in the afterlife, but mostly nocturnal roles for which is connected to Santa Claus who comes in the night bringing gifts.
In the United States, as per tradition on the evening of Christmas Eve people leave a glass of milk and cookies for Santa Claus while in England his meal consists instead of mince pie and sherry. The British and US children also leave out a carrot for Santa's reindeer and once they were told that if they were not good all year they would find in their stocking a piece of coal instead of sweets.
According to the Dutch and the Spanish tradition of Sinterklaas, however, the children put off the shoe, or fill a shoe with hay and a carrot and before going to sleep at leaving out of the house. On the morning of the next day, the hay and carrot are replaced by a gift, often a figure of marzipan. The naughty children they said would find a fagot, but this custom has now been abandoned.