Who is Santa Claus
Santa Claus is a figure of celebration for many cultures and in America he’s mostly known as a large man with white hair and beard, and he wears a big fluffy red suit. His outfit is decked out with large black boots and a wide black belt with a big square buckle. Of course his outfit would not be complete without a furry red hat finished off with a white fluffy ball on the end.
He is said to ride through the night on Christmas Eve driving his magical sleigh that is pulled by 9 amazing reindeer. As he flies through the night he makes stops to all the boys and girls on the planet and delivers presents to everyone. Of course it is well known that throughout the year he keeps a running list of every boy and girl and keeps track of who has been naughty and who has been nice. So it’s important for all the children to be good throughout the year in order to receive a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
He is supposed to magically pop down your chimney or teleport into your home in order to deliver the gifts and does this in the blink of an eye all the while going unnoticed.
What a wonderfully exciting picture this paints in the minds of children, Christmas is such a wonderful time of year full of many great stories, family, friends and great meals. But where and when exactly did Santa Claus originate? Well, we’re going to go over some of the fascinating history associated with Santa Claus and the legend of Old St. Nicholas.
The Legendary Saint Nicholas
Most anyone alive today has grown up with the Joy of Santa Claus, but have you ever thought of when it all started? Actually Santa Claus is said to of been born way back when, sometime during the fourth century, or around 280 A.D. His real name was Saint Nicholas, and he was a Bishop in the Church in Myra Turkey. This is actually present day Demre, Turkey. Saint Nicholas was known widely as being a very caring and kind individual that loved to help people. It’s said much of his wealth he gave away to the unfortunate.
There are stories of him doing many wonderful anonymous acts of kindness over the span of his life. He soon became known as the protector of children and his popularity soared up until his death on Dec. 6th. The exact year is unknown but it’s said to be somewhere between 325 and 340 A.D. Since his death, Dec. 6th has become known as a great day of feast and prosperity, it’s supposed to be the best day to shop for those big purchases and even a great day to get married. Although Dec. 6th was established as the day of celebration due to the Bishop’s death, the Pope decided to assign the holiday to December 25th in celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Santa Claus Comes to America
So we’ve covered briefly the history of who the real Santa Claus was, so when did he come to America as a tradition. Well it wasn’t until the 18th century around 1775 that the stories of Saint Nicholas reached the shores of the Americas. News traveled quite slow in those days! None the less, it wasn’t until a paper in New York reported a Dutch celebration of his death that he began to surface. So he soon became known as Santa Claus, I suppose it was an American translation of his nickname Sinter Klaas.
There were some art woodcuts of Santa Claus that were produced by a member of the New York Historical Society that portrayed Santa with a bunch of stockings hanging on a fireplace that were overflowing with wonderful toys and gifts. Of course at this time he was still featured in his Bishop’s robes, but the tradition was fast coming alive. In 1874 he was portrayed in a brown suit with fur trim on it, this was a depiction created by a cartoonist. The 19th century also brought about tales of Santa living at the North Pole and having a huge workshop to build toys for all the children. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that Santa’s outfit became the wonderful red suit with white fur trim that we all know and love today.
We’ve all heard of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” right? Well this poem is widely responsible for all the magical inspirations that we know today such as Santa coming down the chimney. It was also the inspiration for the stories of Santa’s miniature sleigh that’s pulled by 8 magical reindeer. But of course we can’t forget Rudolph, he became the 9th reindeer after the song, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written.
The America’s wasn’t the only place that tales of this wonderful gift giver were surfacing. The Germans have their Kris Kringle, Scandinavia has Jultomten, the English have Father Christmas and Pere Noel is the Santa Claus of France. In Russia they actually have a woman Santa, her name is Babouschka. The legend on her is that she gave the three wise men the wrong directions of where Jesus was on purpose so they wouldn’t find him. She later felt bad about what she’d done but couldn’t make it up to the men. So she leaves gifts for all the children in hopes that one of them is Jesus, and she will be forgiven. Now here’s an ironic twist, the Italians also have a woman gift giver, but she is a witch. It’s said that she flies her broom down their chimneys and fills their stockings with gifts. What a twist to this story!
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about Santa Claus since Christmas is right around the corner. For all you children out there that may be reading this, we may never truly know what the actual Santa Claus looks like. But I believe he can be anything that we imagine in our hearts, so be sure you are behaving and be sure to go to bed early. Because when you awaken, Santa will have paid your home a visit! Merry Christmas Everyone!