Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Santa's Reindeer – The definite answer

One of the questions asked during Christmas Quiz Night on Friday night was: "How many reindeer does Santa have?"
This was the source of much controversy as the Quiz Master had the answer down as 8 but some contestants strongly protested that the correct answer was in fact 9. I have been researching the answer on the internet and have concluded (somewhat diplomatically) that both parties are correct.

The reindeer, along with the names that they are now commonly known by, first appeared in Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas'") which was first published in 1823. In this poem there are 8 reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. The last two reindeer names were later changed to Donner and Blitzen.

In 1939, the story of Rudolph was created by Robert L. May for a chain of American department stores and published as a poem which later became the song that we know today.

So for over 100 years there were in fact only 8 reindeer but since 1939 there have been 9. So both the Quiz Master and the contestants were correct. I now consider this matter closed.
Santa Claus

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