Santa Claus is the second most popular symbol of Christmas the world over, after Jesus Christ. He is a well-loved character who is known to be jolly and generous; and is known by many other names in other countries and cultures.
More than Santa’s elves – those tiny characters that help Santa make and prepare toys for Christmas – the reindeers are Santa’s most popular helpers. After all, they transport Santa all across the globe so he can distribute his gifts to children in time for Christmas Day.
How Many Reindeers Does Santa have?
Originally, there were 8 reindeers that pulled Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. According to the poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” whose writer was never known, the reindeers are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.
Although the poem mentioned the names of each reindeer, not much else was said about them except that they could go really fast, faster than eagles. There was no mention as to who was leader of the pack, who was the biggest reindeer and such.
These eight were the only known reindeers of Santa’s when the poem was written back in 1823. But about a century later, another reindeer was introduced; through a children’s story written by Robert L. May.
The most beloved reindeer of all, Rudolph, became Santa’s ninth reindeer in 1939.
So beginning 1939, Santa officially had 9 reindeers in all: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
It is said the Rudolph’s character was based on the author’s own experience as a child. Apparently, the author was teased a lot when he was a child because he was scrawny and so he came-up with a character who was a bit odd but who would later save the day, or eve of Christmas.
Briefly, Rudolph came to the rescue when Santa and his reindeers couldn’t see their way anymore because of heavy snowfall. Rudolph’s bright, red and shiny nose lit the way enabling Santa to deliver all the toys to the kids.
Santa met Rudolph when he came by to drop his gifts to Rudolph’s house and the abovementioned heavy snow fell.
Rudolph’s popularity rose to such heights that his character has been included in a good number of Christmas stories, television shows and even movies.
But the most popular form where Rudolph was the main character is the song about him and his story titled Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Today, this is song is one of the most played Christmas carols all over the world.