Ho Ho Hana Kōkō

It is always fun to bring out my small assortment of ornaments to decorate my Christmas corner. I have a nativity scene and quite a few angels and bells, but I also have a few of the various versions of Father Christmas, as we called him when I was young (following the English tradition).

The most glamorous in my collection is Ded Moroz, Grandfather Frost, from Russia. His gorgeous robe is traditional blue with red trim.

Old Father Frost 1

Probably the cutest one I have is a small red-robed version on elephant back from India.

Santa elephant 1

He has a dark beard, and a red robe. This makes him more like Santa Claus, whose name has developed following sound systems of various languages, an English language adaptation of the Dutch Sinter Klaas, in turn from the early Christian Saint Nicholas in Myra (modern day Turkey), whose name in Greek was Nikolaos (Νικόλαος), a compound of νίκη nikē ‘victory’ and λαός; laos ‘people’.

And here in Aotearoa New Zealand the Māori version is Hana Kōkō, since there is no /s/ sound in Māori. I was saddened to hear that Hana Kōkō was booed at the Christmas Parade in Nelson this year, by some locals who wanted a European-looking Santa. In solidarity, I decided to add a Hana Kōkō to my collection, but had no luck in finding one for sale. So with time running short before Christmas Day I decided to make my own, adapted from a souvenir Māori warrior doll (made in Auckland). As with Hana Kōkō in the Nelson parade he does not have the white beard, but I think his moko (facial tattoo) more than makes up for it.

Hana Koko 1

Meri Kirihimete!