List of Christmas gift-bringers by country
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This is a list of various Christmas gift-bringer figures from around the world.
Santa Claus is generally known throughout Europe but, in some countries, the gift-giver's name, attributes, date of arrival, and identity varies.
- Belgium: "Santa Claus," called Père Noël by French speakers and Kerstman ("Father Christmas") by Dutch speakers, is celebrated on Christmas Day. Sinterklaas for the Dutch speakers, Saint Nicholas for the French speakers, is celebrated on 6 December, and has a distinct character with a more religious, Catholic overtone.
- Bosnia: Djed Božićnjak or Božić Bata for Christians, and Djed Mraz for Muslims and others. Djed Mraz brings gifts to children on New Year's Eve.
- Bulgaria: Дядо Коледа (Dyado Koleda, "Grandpa Christmas"), with the Russian-borrowed version of Дед Мороз (Djed Moroz, "Grandpa Frost") being somewhat more widespread in Socialist times from the end of World War II until 1989, and is still in favour today. The town of Velikiy Ustjug in the Vologda region is proclaimed to be his permanent residence.
- Croatia: Djed Božićnjak ("Grandpa Christmas"), or Djed Mraz ("Grandpa Frost"), Mali Isus ("Baby Jesus") for religious Christians, Sveti Nikola ("Saint Nichlaus") brings gifts, or rod, on 6 December.
- Czech Republic: Ježíšek ("Baby Jesus")
- France: Le Père Noël ("Father Christmas") is a common figure France, as well as in other French-speaking areas.
- Germany: Weihnachtsmann ("Christmas Man") or Christkind ("Christ Child") (in southern Germany) brings the gifts on Christmas Eve. Nikolaus is celebrated on 6 December.
- Greece: Άγιος Βασίλης ("Saint Basil")
- Hungary: In Hungary, the angels bring the Christmas gifts, or the child Jesus ("Jézuska" or "Kis Jézus"). Mikulás ("Nicholas" as Santa Claus) has a separate, earlier feast day (6 December), and puts candy in kids' boots (which are to be polished and put in the window), but Mikulás is never involved in Christmas.
- Ireland: Daidí na Nollag ("Father Christmas") among Irish speakers
- Italy: Babbo Natale ("Father Christmas"), sometimes substituted by Gesù bambino ("Baby Jesus"), in order to give this gift-bringing character a more Catholic connotation. On the Epiphany, 6 January, La Befana, a very old lady who rides a broomstick, brings candies and sweeties to children, and she puts them in the socks the children have prepared for her (and traditionally have hung near the fireplace). In Trieste, because of Slovenian and Croatian influences, Saint Nicholas is also celebrated on 6 December. In Udine, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Lodi, Mantova, Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Verona and Western Trentino, Saint Lucy brings gifts to children on the eve of her feast day, 13 December.
- Netherlands: "Santa Claus," called Kerstman ("Christmas Man"), is celebrated by some people on Christmas Day. Sinterklaas is celebrated on 5 December.
- Norway: Julenissen, may be a small, elderly man, a Christmas dwarf, but he is similar to contemporary Santa Claus.
- Poland: Gwiazdor ("Star´s Man") or Święty Mikołaj ("Saint Nicolas")
- Romania: Moş Crăciun ("Old Man Christmas"), Moş Gerilă ("Old Man Frost," the equivalent of the Russian Ded Moroz) in Socialist times, Moş Nicolae ("Old Man Nicholas," Saint Nicholas) is celebrated on 6 December and puts sweets in children's boots.
- Russia: Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz, "Grandpa Frost"), Чысхаан (Chyskhaan "Lord of the Cold") - Sakha Republic (Yakutia)), Yamal Iri - ("Grandpa of Yamal").
- Serbia: Deda Mraz (Деда Мраз: "Grandpa Frost"), renamed from Božić Bata (Божић Бата: "Christmas Brother") during the Communist times after World War II, and moved from Christmas to New Year to prevent any religious connections.
- Slovenia: Miklavž, Dedek Mraz, Božiček
- Spain: Papá Noel ("Father Noel"), the Tió de Nadal in Catalonia, Olentzero in the Basque Country, Apalpador in some areas of Galicia, Esteru and Anjanas in Cantabria, and Anguleru in Asturias. More common and traditional Christmas present-giving figures in Spain are "Los Reyes Magos" ("The Three Kings", "Magi").
- Turkey: Noel Baba ("Father Noel"). Noel Baba is widely thought to bring New Year presents in Turkey due to the country's predominant Muslim population. Christmas is celebrated among the Christian communities.
- United Kingdom: Father Christmas is also known as Santa Claus, although they were originally two quite different people, and Father Christmas did not originally bring gifts.
- Wales: Siôn Corn in Welsh
North America and Oceania
- Australia: Best known as Santa Claus, and less commonly referred to as "Father Christmas" and "Saint Nick". He will come while children are sleeping and will put presents under the tree. Usually, people will leave a glass of milk along with cookies, and sometimes carrots for the reindeer.
- Canada: Santa Claus (among English speakers), Le Père Noël ("Father Christmas") among French speakers
- New Zealand: Jesus Christmas, baby Jesus.
Santa Claus in Latin America is generally referred to with different names from country to country.
- Argentina: Papá Noel, El Niño Dios
- Bolivia: Papá Noel, El Niño Dios
- Brazil: Papai Noel ("Father Christmas"), Bom Velhinho ("Good Old Man"), Pelznickel ("Nick in Fur" or "Jungle's Santa Claus").
- Chile: Viejito Pascuero ("Old Man Christmas")
- Colombia: El Niño Dios ("God child"), Papa Noel
- Costa Rica: San Nicolás or Santa Clos, Colacho (from "San Nicolás"), the Niño dios ("Child God," meaning Jesus) is the traditional giftbringer.
- Dominican Republic: Santa Clos/Papá Noe. However, traditionally, Christmas gifts are given by The Three Kings (Los Tres Reyes Magos) on the Epiphany (6 January) and not on Christmas.
- Ecuador: El Niño Dios ("God child"), Papá Noel
- Mexico: Santo Clós (Santa Claus); El Niño Dios ("God child," in reference to Jesus) and Los Tres Reyes Magos
- Paraguay: Papá Noel, El Niño Dios
- Peru: Papá Noel
- Puerto Rico: Jesús Christmas, Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Kings Day), Santa Clos.
- Uruguay: Papá Noel, El Niño Dios
- Venezuela: Niño Jesús ("Child Jesus"), San Nicolás ("Santa"), depending upon the region
People in East Asia, particularly in countries that have adopted Western cultures, celebrate Christmas and the gift-giver traditions passed down to them from the West.
- China: Shengdan laoren (Traditional Chinese: 聖誕老人, Simplified Chinese: 圣诞老人, Cantonese: sing daan lo jan, pinyin: shèngdànlǎorén literally, "The Old Man of Christmas")
- Hong Kong: 聖誕老人 (jyutping: sing3 daan3 lou5 jan4 (literally, "Christmas Old Man"), Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas
- Indonesia: Santa Claus or Sinterklas
- Japan: サンタクロース (Santa Kuroosu, or Santa-san)
- Korea: 산타 클로스 (Santa Harabeoji or "Grandfather Santa")
- Philippines: Santa Claus. Traditionally, it was the Los Tres Reyes Magos ("The Three Kings")
- Taiwan: 聖誕老人 or 聖誕老公公 (both literally "The Old Man of Christmas")
- Thailand: ซานตาคลอส (Santa Claus)
- Vietnam: Ông Già Nô-en (literally, "The Old Man of Christmas")
- India: Tamil: Christmas Thatha ("Christmas Grandpa"), ಸಾ೦ಟಾ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ (in southern India); Jingal Bell, Santa Claus, Telugu: Thatha ("Christmas Old Man") Marathi: Natal Bua ("Christmas Elder Man")
- Sri Lanka: Naththal Seeya
- Turkmenistan: Aýaz baba
- Uzbekistan: Ayoz Bobo ("Frost Grandpa"), Qor Bobo ("Snow Grandfather")
Africa and the Middle East
Christians in Africa and the Middle East who celebrate Christmas generally ascribe to the gift-giver traditions passed down to them by Europeans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Descendants of colonizers still residing in these regions likewise continue the practices of their ancestors.
- Afghanistan: Papa Noël (Arabic: بابا نويل baba noel); Baba Chaghaloo
- Egypt: Papa Noël (Arabic: بابا نويل baba noel)
- Iran: Papa Noël (Persian: بابا نوئل baba noel)
- Israel: סנטה קלאוס (Santa Claus in Hebrew letters. Most of the population in Israel is Jewish and does not recognize the entity known as "Santa Claus")
- South Africa: Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus
- Syria: Papa Noël (Arabic: بابا نويل baba noel)