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SantaCon is an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill.
Sometimes known as Naughty Santas, Cheapsuit Santas, Santarchy, Santapalooza, and Santa Rampage, SantaCon incorporates elements of a flash mob in the context of cheerful bawdy and harmless behavior, the singing of naughty Christmas carols, and the giving of small gifts to strangers.
In 1994, the Suicide Club in San Francisco staged the first "Santarchy", which was later adopted by the Cacophony Society as SantaCon. Influenced by the surrealist movement, Discordianism, and other subversive art currents, the Cacophonists celebrated the Yule season in a distinctly anti-commercial manner, by mixing guerrilla street theatre and pranksterism. SantaCon has since evolved, spawning many different versions and interpretations of the event throughout the world.
In 2005, a more violent version of the event occurred when on December 18, participants in Auckland, New Zealand, proceeded to start a small riot, with such criminal acts as looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards. At least two bystanders were lightly injured and three arrests were made. Alex Dyer, spokesman for the group, stated that Santarchy in Auckland was part of a worldwide phenomenon designed to protest against the commercialization of Christmas.
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