Fired for saying Father Christmas doesn’t exist

The school in Corowa, 500 kilometres south-west of Sydney, was the scene of the incident. Children ran home crying after the substitute teacher, on her first day at work, told the children that it was their parents, and not father Christmas, who brought them their presents.

The director of the school, Ian Paynter, declared that the teacher would not be returning to the school. A spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Education stated that there was no clear policy on Father Christmas but encouraged teachers to tell the children to ask their parents when confronted with questions about the existence or not of the jolly, white-bearded figure, Easter rabbits and fairies.

The teacher in question usually teaches older children and she was unavailable for comment.

To note, the origin of Christmas is in the Festivals of Light practised in the agricultural communities of Europe during the cold winter months. These usually start with local festivities in October (Hallowe’en), November and throughout December, January (New Year’s Eve) until the fertility rites of February (Carnival). Father Christmas, the red-and-white figure, gained his current colouring only due to a Coca-Cola advertisement in the 1920s, before which he was depicted in different colours. His eccentric entry into the house down the chimney is a vestige of popular lore from Lapland, Finland, where the houses are built underground in the winter and the entrance is through…the chimney.

The shape of the Christmas Tree (the triangle) was used by early missionaries to evangelise the Pagan peoples of northern Europe. These peoples were polytheistic, worshipping more than one God, among them, the tree. The missionaries claimed that the tree (the Christmas Tree is a type of fir tree which grown in northern Europe) was divine because it represented the three-point trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

As for Easter rabbits, the pagan Goddess Oedra was shown at this time of the year (fertility and planting festivals) holding two symbols of fertility in her arms – a rabbit and an egg (eternity).