Spirito Natalizio – Un Babbo Natale diverso

Un rapporto difficile con le feste

Di base credo di non essere una persona con un grande spirito natalizio. Per intendersi, dopo anni e anni a sentire ogni dicembre la pubblicità con il ragazzino che canta di come a Natale si possa “fare quello che non puoi fare mai” ormai se penso alle “cose che non posso fare mai” mi vengono in mente solo atti che come minimo coinvolgono danneggiamenti a proprietà o lesioni.

Allo stesso modo non riesco più ad ascoltare le classiche canzoni di Natale, che mi sembrano essere le stesse quantomeno da trent’anni e che saltano fuori ogni anno come i tormentoni estivi, ma senza nemmeno cambiare titolo per fare finta che siano una canzoni diverse rispetto all’anno prima. Insomma, questo solo per fare alcuni esempi di come non riesca mai ad entrare pienamente nello spirito della festa; però so che presto o tardi mi sfonderò di cappelletti fatti in casa, e quindi sono contento. Anche se per qualche motivo non ho mai imparato a chiuderne uno decentemente.

Per questi motivi, quando dalla redazione di Koinervetti mi hanno proposto di fare un’illustrazione a carattere natalizio, inizialmente mi sono trovato in difficoltà. Non ero troppo ispirato dal tema, e mi venivano in mente solo immagini stereotipate in stile pubblicità per famiglie o immagini ironiche altrettanto banali. Così ho fatto la cosa più divertente che faccio di solito per trovare un’idea: studiare, paradossalmente.

Le origini di Babbo Natale

In questo modo ho trovato tanti spunti interessanti: dalla festa romana del Sol Invictus, che sembra venisse celebrata proprio il 25 dicembre e il cui simbolismo sarebbe stato poi assorbito dal Cristianesimo, fino ad alcune tradizioni appartenenti a diverse culture che comprendevano la decorazione di alberi e piante, similmente a come si fa con l’albero di Natale. Tuttavia, forse a causa di uno slancio nostalgico, mi sono soffermato un sacco sulle storie legate all’iconografia e alla storia di quel simpatico trippone di Babbo Natale.

Se mi dite di non aver mai sentito almeno una volta nella vostra vita quella storia per cui Babbo Natale sarebbe vestito di rosso per via di una pubblicità della Coca-Cola sono sicuro che state mentendo. Per un po’ ci ho creduto anch’io, ma a quanto pare non è così. L’iconografia di questo personaggio si basa invece in gran parte sulle fattezze di alcune antiche figure mitologiche: tra queste il più simile al Babbo Natale moderno è il personaggio di Father Christmas, al quale Charles Dickens si ispirò nel 1843 per creare il personaggio del Fantasma del Natale Presente nella sua opera “A Christmas Carol”.

Non solo: il nome inglese di Babbo Natale, ovvero “Santa Claus”, deriva dal nome del personaggio olandese Sinterklaas, che viene celebrato anche ai giorni nostri. Anche questo, come Babbo Natale, è un vecchio barbuto e vestito di rosso e di bianco, ma a differenza della sua versione moderna questo porta una mitra (non l’arma, è il nome del cappello usato dai vescovi) e un bastone pastorale.

Sinterklaas assomiglia quindi molto di più ad una figura religiosa, e ciò deriva dal fatto che questo personaggio a sua volta è basato su San Nicola, vescovo di Myra e, tra le altre cose, patrono di Bari. Le storie riguardanti questo santo sono molte e tutte lo dipingono come una persona caritatevole verso i bisognosi e come un grande benefattore. Una di queste racconta di come una notte avesse gettato di nascosto tre sacchi pieni di monete d’oro nella casa di un uomo povero in modo che le sue tre figlie potessero sposarsi, evitando di diventare prostitute. Prostituzione a parte, manca solo il camino e abbiamo un Babbo Natale al completo (un’altra storia racconta di come il santo abbia resuscitato tre bambini fatti a pezzi da un macellaio, anche se questa non mi sembrava avesse troppo spirito natalizio).

Secondo un’altra storia il santo avrebbe sconfitto un demone e che questo sarebbe stato poi costretto a servirlo: questa storia ispira la tradizione del Krampus, un mostro caprino orrendo che minaccia i bambini cattivi di portarli via con sé, ancora celebrato intorno al 5 dicembre nelle zone della Germania e persino dell’estremo nord dell’Italia. E pensare che noi al massimo venivamo minacciati con il carbone nelle calze se facevamo i cattivi.

Parlando dell’usanza delle calze piene di dolci, sembra che questa tradizione derivi addirittura dalla mitologia norrena: le calze, riempite di cibo dai bambini, venivano poste fuori dalle abitazioni come nutrimento per Sleipnir, il cavallo di Odino, dal momento che quest’ultimo dopo il solstizio d’inverno ogni anno guidava una caccia selvaggia insieme alle anime dei morti in battaglia. Come ringraziamento, Odino avrebbe riempito nuovamente di cibo la calza. A me personalmente ricorda un po’ quelle scene dei film in cui i bambini lasciano latte e biscotti a Babbo Natale, ma senza cavalli giganti a otto zampe e morti viventi in giro.

L’illustrazione

In definitiva, ho scoperto tanti aspetti di questa festività che non conoscevo. Sono arrivato alla conclusione che il mio problema con il Natale non sia tanto la festa in sé ma piuttosto l’immagine stereotipata di esso che mi viene costantemente gettata davanti agli occhi. Con il “Babbo Natale” che ho rappresentato nell’illustrazione ho cercato di discostarmi il più possibile dalla visione moderna e ridondante di questo personaggio, mantenendo allo stesso tempo alcune iconografie tipiche della festa: il vestito rosso rimane, ma si trasforma in un abito quasi religioso, il cappello diventa una mitra simile a quella di Sinterklaas.

L’abete che tiene in mano è un riferimento al pastorale tenuto in mano dallo stesso personaggio, e allo stesso tempo simboleggia un albero di Natale. E ovviamente c’è la neve, la cosa più bella del Natale, almeno finché non devi guidarci una macchina in mezzo. Con la struttura dell’illustrazione ho voluto riferirmi al San Francesco disegnato da Dino Battaglia, maestro del disegno e del fumetto italiano a cui è stata dedicata la recente mostra al Tiferno Comics. E come ultima strana coincidenza, un affresco di San Nicola è presente nella Cappella omonima proprio nella chiesa di San Francesco ad Assisi.

Vi lascio con un paio di consigli musicali: dal momento che sono sicuro al 100% che avete qualche parente che non sa minimamente l’inglese, provate a fargli sentire “X-M@$” di Corey Taylor. Vi garantisco che sarà divertente vederlo ascoltare una canzone orecchiabile, dal tono allegro e spensierato, totalmente ignaro che in realtà nel testo si critica pesantemente ed in modo abbastanza sboccato ed ironico la tendenza al consumismo sfrenato e l’ipocrisia di chi decide di essere buono solo a Natale per poi fregarsene e comportarsi da schifo per tutto il resto dell’anno. Certo, forse potrebbe farsi venire qualche sospetto quando nel ritornello sentirà “Fa la la la la, go fuck yourself”.

In aggiunta mi auguro ascoltiate ‘’Valhallelujah’’ dei Nanowar of Steel, ovvero un improbabile e bellissimo mashup di metal, gospel, mitologia norrena e… Nomi ancora più improbabili di mobili Ikea.

Buon Natale!

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