Christmas Trivia - Santa's Reindeer

Who named Santa's eight reindeer?

The names of Santa's eight reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (or Donner), and Blitzen, first appeared in Clement C. Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," also known as "The Night Before Christmas.  Donner and Blitzen were originally called Donder and Blixem, which, in German, means thunder and lightning.

It is not entirely clear why Santa's sleigh is pulled by reindeer, as opposed to horses, or why the reindeer can fly. Santa Claus is largely based on Sinterklaas of Dutch lore, who traveled via a noble, white steed.  As pagans converted to Christianity during the Middle Ages pagan beliefs influenced Christmas celebrations. For example, in Norse mythology Thor is the God of Thunder and soars through the sky in a chariot pulled by two magical flying horned goats. This image may have influenced the development of Santa's sleigh and flying, antlered reindeer.

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