Forget About Rudolph... There Is A Reindeer Named Blixem!!!
Photo Cred: Tim Gouw | Pexels

I was “today years old” when I learnt about Blixem the Reindeer.


Global (23 November 2022) – In traditional festive legend and popular culture, Santa Claus’s reindeer are said to pull a sleigh through the night sky to help Santa Claus deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve but did you know that one of them was named Blixem?

Yes, the most popular of the Reindeer is Rudolph with his bright red nose, but there are actually eight more – the original reindeer – and one of them was named Blixem (very similar to the Afrikaans Bliksem).

The number of reindeer and the names given to them varies, but those frequently cited are the eight listed in Clement Clarke Moore’s original 1823 poem – A Visit from St. Nicholas – the work that is probably responsible for the reindeer ever becoming popularly known.

All eight reindeer were named in the poem, the first six being Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and the final two “Dunder” and “Blixem” (meaning thunder and lightning in colloquial New York Dutch). Moore altered the names of the last two reindeer in an 1860s version of the poem where they became known as “Donder” and “Blitzen” and Rudolph only made an appearance 116 years later in Robert L. May’s 1939 storybook Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The relevant part of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” poem reads:

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

According to the WordSense Dictionary, Blixsem/Bliksem directly translates to lightning in English but colloquially means dammit, bastard or to beat up in South Africa.

So you may have heard of Blitzen before but now you know that he was originally known as Blixem!

Sources: A Visit from St. Nicholas 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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