Have you ever wondered about the names of the Christmas reindeer, and where they came from? What is the meaning behind the names?
Christmas is a source of many legends. If you ask the average American to name Santa's reindeer (eight in all?), the first name to pop up will probably be Rudolph (the Red-Nosed Reindeer). The next two might be Donner and Blitzen.
In 1949 the favorite Christmas song was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” sung and recorded by Gene Autry and based on a character originally created by a marketing team for Montgomery Ward in 1939.
The lyrics were written by Johnny Marks, who borrowed most of the reindeer names from the classic 1823 poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (more commonly known as “Twas the Night before Christmas”) by Henry Livingston, Jr.
In the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Marks turned "Donder" into "Donner." Now why did he do that? Here is a little history behind the song.
The original poem refers to “eight tiny reindeer” (Rudolph actually makes it nine tiny reindeer) and gives them each a name: “Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!/On, Comet! on, Cupid! on Dunder and Blixem!”
"Dunder" and "Blixem" were written into the poem by Mr. Livingston and were Dutch names. In later versions modified by Clement Clarke Moore in 1844, were the two names Donder and Blitzen from a German origin. Donder is close to Donner which means thunder) and Blitzen which means lightning better rhymes with "Vixen."
Whether Marks made the change because he knew German or because it just sounded better is uncertain.
Donner and Blitzen can be adopted at the Warm Heart Bears Website! HERE
Thank you for joining us today
Carolyn and the Bears (and Reindeer)