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Oct 12, 2009

Gender of Santas Reindeer?

Did you know...
We have never figured out what sex Santas reindeer are?
The Confusing Sexual Identity of Dasher, Dancer, and the rest of Santa's Reindeer

You all know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donder and Blitzen but, do you know what sex they are?

For years, many people have assumed that these reindeer were male. Then along comes the Alaska's Department of fish and game and tells that Santa's reindeer are most likely female.

The reason being that while both male and female reindeer have antlers, the bucks shed them between the end of October and the middle of November, while the does keep their antlers until January. Which means quite simply that Santa's reindeer, are according to science, females.

But there is nothing scientific about Santa or his Reindeer, so I decided to do a little research into the matter and try to discover for myself what sex those darn reindeer are.

The most logical place to start was where it all began with Moore's poem a visit by St. Nick. I was pretty sure I knew the poem by heart but just in case I had missed something I reread the poem. Nowhere in this work does it mention what sex any of these reindeer are. So, Mr. Moore was absolutely no help in solving this perplexing question.

Next I did a through Internet search to discover who first pronounced these reindeer to be of the male gender. Again I came up empty-handed. It seems as though no one actually made such a pronouncement; people just seemed to assume that the reindeer were males.

In fact, the first mention of any of the original eight reindeer being male came in the 1964 movie, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. In this animated show Donder is Rudolph's father.  Ironically, in the original story of Rudolph written by Robert May, not only is Donder not  Rudolph's father, but Rudolph was not even born at the North pole.

To further confuse this very sensitive issue, Moore's original poem does not refer to a reindeer named Donner, the reindeer's name is actually Donder--the name Donner became accepted as one of Santa's reindeer when the song Rudolph written by Johnny Marx became popular.

So how did Santa's reindeer end up being thought of as male? Many believe it is because Moore bestowed on them masculine sounding names, like Dasher, Comet and Blitzen.

While this may be part of the explanation, one only has to look at the name Vixen and its meaning to conclude that at least one of Santa's reindeer must be female. While Dancer and Prancer could be either sex.

The truth of the matter is the sex of these reindeer is as much a mystery now as it was in the beginning. It is perhaps a mystery that shall never be solved.

The question is do we really care? I for one don't care much if these reindeer are male or female, as long as my gifts arrive on time, gender will never be an issue.

Original article: The Confusing Sexual Identity of Dasher, Dancer, and the rest of Santa's Reindeer - written by Martha lownsberry on Factoidz


Marissa said...

Thanks for the info! It'll be great for conversation this Christmas.

Kaleigh said...

I agree! Very interesting post. Who would have thought they would be female, great analysis. I have a similar blog about interesting facts, I would love if you checked it out :)