Back in 1823, Clement Clarke Moore's poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas," now known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas," alluded to the "eight small reindeer": "now Dasher! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen have arrived! / And Comet too! He can run like the wind!" In reality, only five reindeer total are mentioned by name in the poem: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, and Comet. The other three animals referred to only appear in pictures or descriptions written by children who had read about them in their book.
Each of the named reindeer has a special trait that makes them useful for Santa's sleigh. Dancer is red with white markings on his face and legs; he is the fastest reindeer and can run up to 30 miles per hour. Prancer and Vixen are both white with brown patches on their faces and legs; they are the second-fastest reindeer and can reach 25 miles per hour. Dasher is black with white spots on his face and legs; he is the slowest reindeer and can only go 10 miles per hour. Last but not least, Comet is gray with white feet; he can be seen farting (or blowing bubbles) while running along with Santa's sleigh.
According to Clement Clarke Moore's classic poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (and the dissatisfied elf), Santa's sleigh is driven by a troop of reindeer. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph are the reindeer we know. But what about the others? Some names may be familiar, such as Dasher, which is sometimes used as a nickname for someone who acts quickly or in a careless way. Or perhaps you know the story of Donner being left at the Pole because his hooves were too large for the other reindeer to pull his weight.
In addition to their famous driver, Rudolph, also known as Red, has been described as a very brave reindeer who does not fear humans. Some say he is an alien sent down to help humans during cold seasons. Others claim he is a domestic reindeer who lives with a family in the North Pole. No matter how he came to be there, he has become part of the Christmas tradition.
Other reindeers have also gained fame after appearing in poems, stories, and songs about Santa Claus.
The first eight reindeer are inspired by Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas"). This poem is most likely responsible for the reindeer's popularity. Today, people across the world celebrate Christmas with gifts, decorations, and family get-togethers related to the holiday.
In the poem, Santa tells his helpers that he comes on Christmas Day with a bag of toys for all the children. The song then goes on to say that two of the reindeer died over night after they were used by Santa one year too many.
Nowadays, people think of Santa as a large rosy-cheeked man with a beard made of wool who travels in a big red sleigh pulled by eight white horses. But this isn't true! He's actually a fictional character created by Clement Clarke Moore. Moore wrote the poem while living in New York City with his wife and seven children. It was later published in a newspaper back in 1823.
Santa first appeared in a Dutch painting called "The Virgin Mary Enthroned with Saints Anne and Joachim" by Jan van Eyck. He was originally depicted wearing medieval armor but over time, his outfit changed to what we know today: jeans, a jacket, and a hat.
8 sleighs Santa's sleigh is traditionally drawn by eight reindeer, as described in the 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicolas": "Now, Dasher! Dancer, now! Donner and Blitzen — who, with their friends, are all driven away from their homes quite suddenly to travel with Santa Claus until the end of Christmas Day." Although it is possible to read into this figure some kind of symbolic meaning, that isn't necessarily so.
Actually, there are nine reindeer total, including Rudolph, who is not counted as one of the drivers because he doesn't leave his home town.
The number eight has special significance for those who believe in Santa Claus. He or she (or they) have been known to give out eight gifts in a single season if you can find other things to do besides sleep during your holidays.
However, just because something is believed by many people doesn't make it true. There are many strange things done by people at Christmas time, like eating pralines on New Year's Eve or throwing water balloons at strangers on H2O Holiday. But still, we use them during the holiday season because they are done by others.
I hope you have a very happy Christmas day!