The History of Fictonal Holiday Characters


Have you ever sat back and wondered, where have the myths and stories surrounding our beloved holiday characters originated from? Well, you are in luck because I have researched and discovered the many tales and characters surrounding our holidays and where they began, such as Leprechauns, Santa, and the Easter Bunny.
First, let’s start off with the beloved character from Saint Patrick’s day. This holiday in America is mainly celebrated by those with an Irish heritage. The holiday was first celebrated to commemorate Saint Patrick’s death, but recently it has become a day for those to celebrate Irish culture. Often, a leprechaun and its pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. This myth can be traced all the way back to the 8th century as water spirits, and its name comes from the word “Luchorpan” meaning ‘small body’. It was said that these little men were deformed children of the fairies. There are actually no records of people mentioning female leprechauns which defies the basic laws of biology, but we will not get into that. The Leprechaun is known as being greedy and sneaky especially when it comes to his pot of gold. Over the centuries, it is amazing that we still have a Leprechaun as one of the most commonly known creatures involved in a holiday.
Now onto Saint Nick, whose stories can be traced back to 280 A.D. because of a miraculous man named Saint Nickolaus. Saint Nick became a subject of many legends because of his giving nature. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. It is no surprise that he is the inspiration behind the kind and jolly Santa. So, how was the legend of Santa brought to America? Many people often celebrate Saint Nickolaus on the anniversary of his death which is December 6th, and when a group of Dutch families got together in New York to celebrate in 1773, a paper did an article about the gathering. This was Santa’s first appearance in American pop culture. Over time, Santa’s character grew into this magical being that delivers presents to children by flying reindeers, and he is still loved and adored by everyone all around the world.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Easter Bunny and his tradition of hiding eggs for little children to find. The rabbit is a character associated with the holiday Easter which originated from the celebration of Jesus being resurrected. What does the Easter Bunny have to do with Jesus? Well, it does not have any relation. Many have tried to connect the symbolism of the holiday to rebirth, but there really is not any original intent or story for the Easter Bunny being associated with Easter. Many believe that the tradition of hiding eggs did not even originate from Christians but from an Anglo-Saxon festival celebrating the goddess of Easter, Eostre. Eggs were eaten and possibly buried at the festival to encourage fertility. The Easter Bunny was first mentioned in German writings in the 1600s, and it was introduced to America by a group of Dutch settlers in the 1700s. Easter is a holiday that is made up of so many different cultures and religions that it is hard to pinpoint exactly where it came from, but wherever and whoever it came from it is still one of the most beloved holidays we celebrate worldwide.
When researching such a well known fictitious holiday character, it can be hard to understand where the myth first began. Over time as these epic stories get told over and over again, they start to change and grow eventually to the story we know and love today. So, when looking back at what our characters used to be one hundred years ago, is it almost like they are completely different myths. However, the feeling of joy when you think of that friendly face is still the same. These myths have withstood the test of time because no matter how much the characters change, the joy these stories bring will always be the same.