In the community

Folklore session at Four Rivers Cultural Center unwraps how diverse cultures across the globe view Santa

Maya Wharton, 2, of Ontario, gets to pose with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the holiday event on Friday, Dec. 3, at Four Rivers Cultural Center. Friday the center will host a free folklore event that delves into the traditional myths surrounding Santa. (The Enterprise/LES ZAITZ)

ONTARIO – Kids can learn the story of Santa Claus at a special event Friday at the Four Rivers Cultural Center.

The hour-long Folklore Friday starts at 5 p.m. with a presentation on how different cultures around the world view Santa.

“It’s for kids and families who are interested in learning more about ol’ St. Nick. It should be fun. The kids get to do a craft and watch a shadow puppet show,” said Allison Simon, Four Rivers Cultural Center programming and outreach coordinator.

Simon said the event focuses on a folk tale from Iceland to “explore, basically, the myths around Christmas.”

Simon said different cultures across the world created their own character that resemble Santa Claus.

In Italy, for example, La Befana is known as a good witch who conducts her journey Jan. 5. She rides on a broom and climbs down chimneys to deliver presents.

The Santa Claus deeply-rooted in American folklore is based on customs of the historical Saint Nicholas, the English Father Christmas and the Dutch Sinterklaas.

Simon said the goal of the program is to “expose everyone and how that we are similar yet we are so different.”

Simon said once the learning portion of the event is over, participants will be asked questions.

“Like ‘what did you think? What did you notice about this particular tale?’ We will focus on whatever moral is behind the story,” said Simon.

Along with learning about the Icelandic tradition, participants will also get a culture kit to take.

“It is sort of our Christmas present to everyone who comes,” said Simon.

“We give them a packet that has fun facts telling them about the different Santa’s across the world,” said Simon.

New tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – Available for $5 a month. Subscribe to the digital service of the Enterprise and get the very best in local journalism. We report with care, attention to accuracy, and an unwavering devotion to fairness. Get the kind of news you’ve been looking for – day in and day out from the Enterprise.