What an interesting story. Swedish engineers calculated that Santa could more efficiently deliver gifts to the children of the world if he relocated from the North Pole to the snowy mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
With characteristic Scandinavian thoroughness, the logistics experts calculated the most efficient route for Father Christmas to make his way round each of the world’s 2.5 billion households, and discovered he is based in the wrong place. They decided that his workshop needs to move 3,400 miles south, to a mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia, a country once part of the Soviet Union.
The remote spot, 20 miles north of Kapkatash mountain in the Jalal-Abad region, would place him at the geographical centre of the world’s spread of children, with two of the biggest populations, China and India, on his doorstep. The engineers assumed that Santa gives out gifts regardless of children’s faith or their behaviour through the year.
Kyrgyzstan is secular, having been atheist under the Soviets, and Sunni Islam is the religion of the majority.
Guess how the Kyrgyz authorities reacted to the idea of an arguably Christian, world-famous, nonfictional character moving to their country:
1) Inciting rioting in the streets in which many were killed
2) Threatening Sweden with boycotts and calling for the death of the engineers who came up with the idea
3) Sending the Swedish ambassador winging back to Sweden
4) Welcoming Santa Claus with open arms.
Have you made your guess? ‘Cause here’s the answer:
The Kyrgyzstan authorities have seized on the idea of relocating Santa to their country with enthusiasm. Despite being predominantly Muslim, the residents believe in Ayaz Ata, or Father Snow, who brings gifts to their children. The ministry for tourism has also announced plans for an expedition to the area identified by the Swedish study to climb a mountain and rename the peak Mount Santa.
Akbar Djigitov, a tourism official, said: “It was a real surprise to find he would be best to set up his home in our country, but we think it perfect. Our mountains are very snowy, so he would feel at home.”
Yay for tolerance and secularism! Yay Father Snow! Yay, Kyrgyz government!