Santa Gets Help From Cousin Pancho

Barrio folk hero sports a lowrider, elf entourage
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 24, 2008 3:02 PM CST
Pancho Claus and his entourage of elves take his lowrider for a spin in an annual Houston parade.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – Santa's been getting a little help from his South Pole cousin, Pancho Claus, the lowrider-driving barrio folk hero who doles out gifts on both sides of the Texas border. Pancho takes different forms—sporting a red zoot suit in Houston and a sombrero and black beard in San Antonio—but is often played by war veterans catering to underprivileged kids, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The legend was born in the 1970s during the Chicano civil-rights era, one enthusiast says. Each Pancho has his own take on his origins: One claims he’s the love child of Santa’s brother, Frank, and a Mexican woman. Another traces his roots to Mexico’s fields, where a wish-granting fairy godmother created him to make children happy.