文章来源:未知 文章作者:meng 发布时间:2009-12-21 01:01 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

As winter rolls around again this year and the days become chillier1, millions of people around the world will break out their winter coats and look forward with anticipation2 to the approaching holiday season. That's right, Christmas is upon us again. For some, that means digging out those old lights and ornaments3 out of the closet to hang on the Christmas tree. For others, it means frantic4 days of gift-shopping at the mall. For many children, Christmas is the season of Santa Claus, that mysterious and jolly invader5 of chimneys, soaring through the sky on his magical sled, bearing gifts for the nice and coal for the naughty.

Most people who celebrate Christmas are familiar with the figure of Santa Claus. However, few know the details of his origins or the fairly complex history of his development.

The figure of Santa Claus actually has many different origins and is derived6 from a variety of traditions. Elements from these different traditions became incorporated together with time and produced the Santa Claus that we know today. The primary inspiration for Santa Claus is the 4th century Christian7 bishop8 Saint Nicholas of Myra. Nicholas resided in the ancient Lycian town of Myra, located in Byzantine Anatolia. Having devoted9 his entire life to Christianity at a young age, Nicholas became known for his generous gifts to the poor. One famous story tells of how he presented three impoverished10 daughters of a faithful Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. Today, we continue to use Saint Nicholas (or Saint Nick) as a pseudonym11 for Santa Claus.

Elements of Santa Claus folklore12 are also derived from Germanic traditions. In Proto-Germanic mythology14, the god Odin would host a great hunting party for the gods and fallen warriors15 each year at Yule. It was an old tradition for children to fill their boots with carrots, straw, or sugar and place them near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then replace Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy to reward those children for their kindness. These practices survived after Germany's Christianization (also Belgium and the Netherlands) and the practice became associated with Saint Nicholas. Today, children continue to place stockings or socks near the chimney for Santa to place gifts in.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas is also known by the shortened form of his name Sinterklass. The popular North American form Santa Claus is actually a mispronunciation of the Dutch form. Parallels in the lore13 of Santa's helpers can also be traced to stories told in the Netherlands about a young Ethiopian slave boy named Peter. According to the story, Saint Nicholas freed Peter from a Myra market, and the boy was so thankful he decided16 to stay with Nicholas as a helper. In Dutch, Nicholas's helper is known as Zwarte Piet (black Peter). Many have felt the name to contain racial connotations. Today, Zwarte Piet has become a modern servant who has a black face because he climbs through chimneys and gets soot17 all over him.
在荷兰,圣·尼克拉斯被简称为圣特克拉斯。北美普遍的称呼——Santa Claus事实上来自于荷兰发错音的Sinterklass。而谈到圣诞老人的助手,可追溯到荷兰的民间故事,那是有关一个叫做皮特的年少埃塞俄比亚奴隶男孩的故事:圣?尼克拉斯在迈拉的市场上给皮特赎身,皮特对此感激涕零,决定成为尼克拉斯的助手。在荷兰,尼克拉斯的助手被称为Zwarte Piet(黑皮特),很多人认为这个称呼包含种族方面的言外之意。今天,Zwarte Piet成为了现代的仆人,他因爬烟囱沾得满身烟灰,面色由此变黑。


1 chillier 2bc13f9b43b40092254e4e3f2d51a14b     
adj.寒冷的,冷得难受的( chilly的比较级 )
  • Something colder and chillier confronted him. 他正面临着某种更加寒冷、更加凄凉的东西。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
2 anticipation iMTyh     
  • We waited at the station in anticipation of her arrival.我们在车站等着,期待她的到来。
  • The animals grew restless as if in anticipation of an earthquake.各种动物都变得焦躁不安,像是感到了地震即将发生。
3 ornaments 2bf24c2bab75a8ff45e650a1e4388dec     
n.装饰( ornament的名词复数 );点缀;装饰品;首饰v.装饰,点缀,美化( ornament的第三人称单数 )
  • The shelves were chock-a-block with ornaments. 架子上堆满了装饰品。
  • Playing the piano sets up resonance in those glass ornaments. 一弹钢琴那些玻璃饰物就会产生共振。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 frantic Jfyzr     
  • I've had a frantic rush to get my work done.我急急忙忙地赶完工作。
  • He made frantic dash for the departing train.他发疯似地冲向正开出的火车。
5 invader RqzzMm     
  • They suffered a lot under the invader's heel.在侵略者的铁蹄下,他们受尽了奴役。
  • A country must have the will to repel any invader.一个国家得有决心击退任何入侵者。
6 derived 6cddb7353e699051a384686b6b3ff1e2     
vi.起源;由来;衍生;导出v.得到( derive的过去式和过去分词 );(从…中)得到获得;源于;(从…中)提取
  • Many English words are derived from Latin and Greek. 英语很多词源出于拉丁文和希腊文。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He derived his enthusiasm for literature from his father. 他对文学的爱好是受他父亲的影响。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 Christian KVByl     
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
8 bishop AtNzd     
  • He was a bishop who was held in reverence by all.他是一位被大家都尊敬的主教。
  • Two years after his death the bishop was canonised.主教逝世两年后被正式封为圣者。
9 devoted xu9zka     
  • He devoted his life to the educational cause of the motherland.他为祖国的教育事业贡献了一生。
  • We devoted a lengthy and full discussion to this topic.我们对这个题目进行了长时间的充分讨论。
10 impoverished 1qnzcL     
adj.穷困的,无力的,用尽了的v.使(某人)贫穷( impoverish的过去式和过去分词 );使(某物)贫瘠或恶化
  • the impoverished areas of the city 这个城市的贫民区
  • They were impoverished by a prolonged spell of unemployment. 他们因长期失业而一贫如洗。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 pseudonym 2RExP     
  • Eric Blair wrote under the pseudonym of George Orwell.埃里克·布莱尔用乔治·奧威尔这个笔名写作。
  • Both plays were published under the pseudonym of Philip Dayre.两个剧本都是以菲利普·戴尔的笔名出版的。
12 folklore G6myz     
  • Zhuge Liang is a synonym for wisdom in folklore.诸葛亮在民间传说中成了智慧的代名词。
  • In Chinese folklore the bat is an emblem of good fortune.在中国的民间传说中蝙蝠是好运的象征。
13 lore Y0YxW     
  • I will seek and question him of his lore.我倒要找上他,向他讨教他的渊博的学问。
  • Early peoples passed on plant and animal lore through legend.早期人类通过传说传递有关植物和动物的知识。
14 mythology I6zzV     
  • In Greek mythology,Zeus was the ruler of Gods and men.在希腊神话中,宙斯是众神和人类的统治者。
  • He is the hero of Greek mythology.他是希腊民间传说中的英雄。
15 warriors 3116036b00d464eee673b3a18dfe1155     
武士,勇士,战士( warrior的名词复数 )
  • I like reading the stories ofancient warriors. 我喜欢读有关古代武士的故事。
  • The warriors speared the man to death. 武士们把那个男子戳死了。
16 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
17 soot ehryH     
  • Soot is the product of the imperfect combustion of fuel.煤烟是燃料不完全燃烧的产物。
  • The chimney was choked with soot.烟囱被煤灰堵塞了。
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