Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who is Jack Frost?

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose…

Who is Jack Frost and how did he come to be the mischievous folk lore character we have all grown to love during the holiday season?

Jack Frost also better known as Jokul Frosti ("icicle frost") is a sprite- like character with roots in Viking lore. In the United States and Britain, Frost is best known as Old Man Winter who is responsible to frosty weather and nipping the nose and toes of young children. The depiction of Jack Frost was made popular by Thomas Nast, an artist who published his work in Harper’s Weekly in 1864. The picture is winter in Central Park depicting Jack Frost as a creature covered in icicles. Thomas Nast is also responsible for the number of popular images of Christmas and Santa Claus. In 1902, L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus book explains that Frost is the son of the Frost King. Jack Frost with a jolly personality takes pleasure in nipping noses, ears and toes of children. Santa asks him to stop, but Frost mistrusts him and cannot resist the temptation.

Jack Frost has always been known as a figure from folklore, looking as an elfish creature who personifies crisp and cold weather. He is always known to leave beautiful patterns on autumn leaves and windows on frosty mornings. In Russia, frost is represented as Father Frost, a smith who binds water and earth together with heavy chains. In Germany, Frost is an old woman who causes it to snow by shaking out her bed of white feathers.

Although Jack Frost has no connection with Christianity, he is sometimes hijacked to appear in modern Christmas entertainments. He also often appears in literature, film, television, song, and video games as a sinister mischief maker.

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