Pancho Claus is the Santa every Latino can relate to!

pancho clausChristmas is but two days away and this time of the year always makes me reminisce about how I celebrated the holidays growing up. It was all about Santa Claus, Papa Noel, or El Niño Dios. Texans apparently have their own version called Pancho Claus, the Tex-Mex Santa

This gift-giver is no ordinary Santa. He wears a poncho, a sombrero, black beard and hair, and rides a low-rider or is led in by a pack of burros. Now this sounds like the Santa I wish I grew up with!


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The concept of Pancho Claus came from the Chicano civil rights movement which is what makes him popular in Texas. During the 1970s many Mexican Americans wanted something that represented their culture and alas came Pancho Claus.

This special Santa hands out gifts to children who are less fortunate and they know him so well they put him above the actual Santa Claus. The way they see it, Pancho Claus comes from the South Pole, opposed to Santa who comes from the North.

This mythical character is particularly special as he adds to the recent controversy that Santa may have not been white and instead has a background of different cultures. In the cities of Texas, the different Panchos that represent the area all visit schools, supermarkets, and churches. No matter what each Pancho Claus does differently, the end result is to put a smile on each child's face. 

Aww, I wish I'd know about Pancho Claus growing up. I'm glad that Latino children are able to relate to this unique Santa and that the tradition has been kept alive. It's important that everyone--especially kids, feel loved and special this time of the year. Pancho Claus helps keep that magical tradition alive. After all we all need something to believe in!

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Topics: christmas  role models  children  hispanic traditions  holidays