Santa Clause And The Santa Clause

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Is Santa truly a secular figure or is he a religious one? This has been a long-standing argument. However, instead of viewing Saint Nick as either secular or religious, it would be more beneficial to examine him as a figure consisting of both religious and secular elements. It is true that the contemporary Santa Claus may be more associated with secular concepts, such as consumerism, but it is also crucial to emphasize the origins of the jolly old man. He is the product of Western Christianization. It is thought that he was created from a combination of the historical figure of Saint Nicholas, a Christian saint, who was known for giving gifts, and the fictional character of Father Christmas from British folklore (CITE). Santa Claus can be viewed as an ambiguous figure with elements of both religion and popular culture. In this essay, I will summarize Caillois’ theory of the sacred and the profane and discuss Chidester’s approach to popular culture and religion and apply these two theories to the figure of Santa Claus. In Roger Caillois’ The Ambiguity of the Sacred, he continues the work of previous theorists and establishes his own version of the sacred and the profane. In his theory, there are two realms, the sacred and the profane, that are separated by a line of prohibition (CITE). The profane realm consists of the routine, everyday life (CITE). It is dominated by fixed elements, called essences, and it is where humanity lives (CITE). In the profane world, systems of reason and language can be utilized to categorize and explain what objects are and where they belong (CITE). On the other hand, the sacred realm contains things that reach beyond the grasp of human reason. In this realm, transformative and dynamic entities exist ... ... middle of paper ... ...e of unity, as Chidester mentions, for many people, in particular Christians, during the holiday season. Christmastime is often described, as a time to spend with friends, family, and other loved ones. In other words, it is a time spent together, as one. Additionally, such rituals maintain the figure of Santa Claus, who is fairly universal, and unite them in the Christmas spirit, a feeling of happiness, love, and generousness. The image of the modern day Santa was popularized and is maintained through images, stories, carols, and movies. Since children are constantly exposed to these items of popular culture, these common Christmastime rituals ensure that Santa remains salient in their minds as a sacred icon. It is evident that Santa Claus falls into several of the categories of Chidester’s middle zone with overlapping characteristics of religion and popular culture.

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