Holiday Myth! Rudolph The Red-Nosed Caribou?

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Caribou?

What some seasonal enthusiasts might not realize when singing the holiday classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is that the caribou and reindeer are the same species. Ole’ Saint Nick knew exactly what he was doing when choosing the reindeer; they are the domesticated variety of caribou and easily herded by elves and used for pulling sleighs long distances. As always location is everything, reindeers are found conveniently close to Santa’s North Pole workshop, primarily in Scandinavia, Siberia, Canada and Alaska.

The Myth of Rudolph-The-Red-nosed-Reindeer!
The Myth of Rudolph-The-Red-nosed-Reindeer!

The timeless Christmas legend tells of Santa and has his favorite nine reindeers; Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (thunder in Dutch) and Blitzen (lightning in German), with Rudolph magically leading his sleigh through the sky at night. The names of the original eight reindeers were derived from the Christmas rhyme, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, written by Major Henry Livingstone Junior in 1807.

Reindeers are the only mammals that can see the sun’s ultraviolet rays reflecting off snow, this certainly must assist Santa when they swoop down to bring gifts to children worldwide on Christmas Eve. Talk about a tight deadline for a good cause! This isn’t a job for lightweights either; a reindeer’s size and weight varies by sex and region. Males can average anywhere from 275 to 600 pounds, and females 200 to 300 pounds.

The hit tale, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was originally written by Robert L. May in 1939 for the Montgomery Ward department store as a Christmas coloring book. May’s brother-in-law, song producer Johnny Marks loved the story so much he wrote the lyrics and melody for the song. Gene Autry first recorded the legendary classic in 1949, and the holiday tune sold two million copies within the first year!

So you see, no matter how young or old you are if you believe in the magic of the holiday season, there really is a Santa Claus and his team of nine caribou – I mean reindeer! Ho-ho-ho and Happy Holidays!

For more information on caribou and reindeer wildlife preservation at Artic Wildlife Refuge !

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