Friday, December 12, 2008

THIS YEAR, BY GOSH, WE’RE GONNA SING IT RIGHT!! (maybe)


So, you pride yourself on really getting into the Christmas spirit? The tree is up, full of lights and tinsel, angel/star on top? You've got the plate of cookies and milk for Santa (check). Big pot of mulled wine for you (check). A stack of logs (check) for some Christmas karaoke by the fire (ch…… Wait! If you’re planning on gathering everyone around for your famous Gene Autry impression of Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer, including the intro, you better read this first…(condensed from Wikipedia)

Santa Claus's reindeer are a team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull his sleigh and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The commonly cited names of the reindeer are based on those used in the 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, arguably the basis of reindeer's popularity as Christmas symbols, where they are called Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Dunder and Blixem. Dunder was later changed to Donder and — in other works — Donner, and Blixem was later changed to Blitzen. The subsequent popularity of the Christmas song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" has led to another reindeer name joining the popular roll-call, but the original eight reindeer are listed in the poem thus...

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;

In An American Anthology, 1787–1900, Edmund Clarence Stedman reprints the 1844 Clement Clarke Moore version of the poem, including the German spelling of "Donder and Blitzen," rather than the original 1823 version using the Dutch spelling, "Dunder and Blixem." Both phrases translate as "Thunder and Lightning" in English, though German for thunder is now spelled Donner, and the Dutch words would nowadays be spelled Donder and Bliksem.



Yes, those rumors you’ve heard are all true. Donner isn’t the acutal original name of one of Santa’s posse. (that leaves us with only the famous Donner Party to claim the name, and that group was certainly not known for karaoke and other winter festivities!)
Well, the important thing is, we now can sing this song with the original traditional name, right? Right? Okay, I'm not crazy about it either, and besides, it's way too late for me to change. Let's stick with Donner.


Photo from Creative Commons (Cathy Stanley-Erickson)
Video by YT member refusetobesilent
This is the original 1949 version with Gene Autry, "The Singing Cowboy" Awesome!

11 comments:

Squirrel said...

I heard this song was written for the old catalog company Montgomery Wards, who later sold a whole line of rudolf inspired misc ~ dishes and tea sets, cookie jars, tchotchkes.

I like dunder better than Donder, today I read "blunderhead" instead of dunderhead in a Zola novel.

Aleta said...

Nah, I'll stick with Donner. Cute trivia though! Thanks for the information. I'll have to sing it the original way and see if I get some stares. Hehe.

bobbie said...

I don't mind Dunder, but Blixem is too hard to get my tongue around.

Poetikat and the Hyggecats said...

I have a Golden Press edition of The Night Before Christmas from 1965 and I learned it as "Donner and Blitzen". Oh well! If my dad had known this, he would have been sure to teach me the correct version - especially the German.

Kat

Lin said...

we were trying to recall the names of santa's reindeer the other day, thanks for a heads up on that.

SandyCarlson said...

Donder is a Dunder and a half in that story by Bob May, so I'm glad to see it that way!

Gretchen said...

Very interesting! Did you know that only female reindeer have antlers in the winter?

Kallen305 said...

Thanks for the trivia. I lover the blogging community because I learn something new every day. Now I can wow people on my knowledge of Santa's reindeer

magiceye said...

that was interesting...

Quiet Paths said...

Himmeldonnerwetternochmal! I'll be switched.

gardenpath said...

Did not know this! You are just full of knowledge, Deborah.