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  Santa from Lapland
   
  The Finns have made Santa Claus their own national symbol, and they have done it with tremendous success. Ask any Lithuanian and the answer will be that he comes from the snow white region of Lapland.
 
Several countries and cultures claim to have the original Santa Claus but the Finns are convinced that their Santa from the Lappland region is the original and the best. This blelief can be traced to the 1920s when the popular radio presenter Markus Rautio told the nation about Santa (Joulupukki in Finnish) and his deeds and that he lived on Mount Korvatunturi in the far north of Finland.
Kids started to send letters to Santa, and in the 50s lumberjacks in Lappland began to answer the letters during their spare time, and a tradition was born. In the 1970s the Finnish Tourist Board got interested in the phenomena and started a Santa Claus mailing service.
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  Santa from Turkey
   
 
Vilnius Monthly spares no efforts to find the truth, so in this issue we look to answer the question of Santa Claus.
We had heard that the character of today’s Santa was taken from the life of a real person, the Dutch ‘Sinter Klaus’ who eventually became Santa Claus when his legend was brought to North America with the Dutch settlers a few hundred years ago.
But what was the background of the Dutch tradition? Some research told us that we should find out more about the bishop of a city named Myra in Southern Turkey, a bishop who lived and worked in the early part of the 4th century. So off we went, by one of TezTour’s direct flights from Vilnius, to the Turkish resort of Antalya.
A couple of hours drive along the beautiful Turkish coastline brought us from Antalya to Myra, where we were met by some of the most impressive and well preserved monuments in all Turkey, in a region that almost 2,000 years ago was known as Lycia. The main part of the monument is a fantastic collection of rock tombs and an imposing 2-nd century theatre.
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  Anti Santa campaign launched
   
  A German group has launched a campaign to persuade people to turn their backs on Santa Claus and return to St Nicholas instead.
The Santa-Free Zone group has printed off thousands of flyers and stickers and is handing them out in towns across Germany.
Celebrity newsreader Peter Hahne is championing their campaign to ban Santa who he says was created to advertise Coca-Cola in 1931.
He said it was time that Germany ditched Santa, who has commercialised Christmas, in favour of traditional Yuletide figures such as the Christkind and St Nicholas.
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