a non commercial Xmas message – my traditional re-post

Pdlyons's Explorations

There is also a rival theory of the origins of Santa’s paraphernalia – hid red and white colour scheme, those flying reindeer, and so on – which is more fun, less commercial, more scientific and somehow more appealing ( possibly because it is politically incorrect). Patrick Harding of Sheffield University argues that the traditional image of Santa and his flying reindeer owes a great deal to what is probably the most important mushroom in history: fly agaric (Amanita muscania). Before vodka was imported from the east, this was the preferred recreational and ritualistic mind-altering drug in parts of northern Europe.

Each December, this mycologist, or fungi expert, dresses up as Santa and drags a sledge behind him to deliver seasonal lectures on the fly agaric. The costume helps Harding drive home his point, for he believes Santa’s robes honour the mushroom’s red cap and white dots. Commonly found in northern…

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