- 1 Saint Nicholas
- 2 The History of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
- 3 Jolly Old St. Nicholas?
- 4 From bishop to gift giver
- 5 Coming to America
- 6 The Santa problem
- 7 How Old Is Santa Claus? Here’s Everything You Wanted to Know
- 8 Exactly how old is Santa?
- 9 When is Santa’s birthday?
- 10 How did we go from Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus?
- 11 So, how old is Santa’s wife, Mrs. Claus?
- 12 Saint Nicholas
- 13 Who Was Saint Nicholas?
- 14 Early Life
- 15 Reputation
- 16 Death and Legacy
- 17 Fact Check
- 18 Awaiting the Arrival of Old St. Nick
- 19 Who is St. Nicholas?
- 20 Santa Claus
- 21 The Legend of St. Nicholas: The Real Santa Claus
- 22 Sinter Klaas Comes to New York
- 23 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
- 24 Santa Claus Around the World
- 25 Christmas Traditions in the United States
- 26 The Ninth Reindeer, Rudolph
- 27 St. Nicholas, Santa Claus & Father Christmas on whychristmas?com
- 28 How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
- 29 Santa Claus and Coca-Cola
From c.301 to c.400, the civilization flourished. Myra Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Saint Nicholas?
Known variously as Nicholas of Myra and Nikolas of Bari, (flourished 4th century in Myra, Lycia, Asia Minor; Western feast day December 6; Eastern feast day December 19), St. Nicholas is one of the most popular minor saints commemorated in both the Eastern and Western churches, and is traditionally associated with the festival of Christmas. On the 6th of December, known as St. Nicholas Day, children in many nations receive gifts. He is considered to be one of the patron saints of children and sailors.
Historically, he was born at the ancient Lycian seaside city of Patara and journeyed to Palestine and Egypt as a child, according to legend.
- He was imprisoned and most likely tortured during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian, but he was liberated under the administration ofConstantine the Great after a long period of imprisonment.
- After his death, his remains were interred in his church at Myra, where his shrine had become widely renowned by the sixth century.
- This move dramatically raised the saint’s fame across Europe, and Bari quickly became one of the most busy pilgrimage destinations on the continent.
- The dating of one such relic fragment, a bit of hip bone from a church in the United States, was validated in 2017 by scholars, who determined that it belonged to the 4th century.
- Nicholas, bishop of Myra, and the gift-giving Santa Claus of the holiday season.
- Nicholas, bishop of Myra, and his life and times.
- is a publishing company that publishes encyclopedias.
Nicholas’s reputation for generosity and charity gave birth to traditions of miracles that he performed for the impoverished and destitute, which he shared with his followers.
During the Middle Ages, Nicholas was revered across Europe, and his devotion was widespread.
The emperor Justinian I of Rome erected a church to him in Constantinople (now Istanbul) as early as the 6th century, one of thousands of churches dedicated to him throughout Europe.
Photographs courtesy of PHOTOS.com/Getty Images Plus After the Reformation, devotion to Nicholas faded away in all Protestant nations of Europe, with the exception of Holland, where his legend endures under the name Sinterklaas (St.
As a result of the country’s English-speaking majority adopting the moniker Santa Claus, Sinterklaas’s legendary narrative of a kind elderly man was combined with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished misbehaving children and rewarded good children with gifts.
He has been the patron saint of the gift-giving celebration of Christmas ever since.
In the United Kingdom, Santa Claus is referred to as Father Christmas instead of Santa Claus. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Melissa Petruzzello was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
The History of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where Santa Claus comes from: the North Pole. His historical excursion, on the other hand, is both lengthier and more amazing than his yearly, one-night round of the world. A mythology of Santa Claus developed across northern Europe, and he ultimately took on his current appearance on the coasts of the New World, where he was born in the Mediterranean during the Roman Empire. Who is this progenitor of Santa Claus, and how has he changed over history? For further information, see “Christmas in July—Inside a Santa Summer Camp.”
Jolly Old St. Nicholas?
Every year on December 6, the faithful gather in towns all over the world to commemorate St. Nicholas Day, with the major celebrations taking place in Europe. While there are many different depictions of St. Nicholas, none of them look anything like the red-cheeked, white-bearded elderly guy who may be found everywhere today. Modern forensic face reconstruction techniques were used to produce one of the most striking depictions of the genuine St. Nick, who lived in the third and fourth centuries and lived in the third and fourth centuries.
- Nicholas’s remains continues to this day, but it has long been believed that the bones of the Greek bishop were stolen by Italian sailors during the 11th century and transported to the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola on the Italian coast’s southeast coast.
- ” Could the Remains of Santa Claus Be in This Turkish Church?” (For speculations on other probable resting sites for St.
- Wilkinson gave Santa’s original namesake a human face, one with a terribly damaged nose, which may have occurred during the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, according to historical accounts.
- Two-dimensional data was used to reconstruct the size and shape of the facial muscles that originally covered Nicholas’s skull, and three-dimensional data from two-dimensional data was used to reconstruct the shape of Nicholas’s skull itself.
When working from photographs, Wilkinson admits that “we are bound to have lost some of the level of detail you would get from working from life,” but he believes that “this is the closest we are ever going to get to him.” The project’s feature film, The Real Face of Santa, which aired on BBC Two, was a documentary about the project.
From bishop to gift giver
How did this St. Nicholas become the bringer of Christmas presents from the North Pole, where he now resides? The first saint was a Greek who lived in the late third century, approximately 280 A.D., and was martyred. He was elevated to the position of bishop of Myra, a tiny Roman town in modern Turkey. However, during the Great Persecution in 303, when Bibles were burned and priests were forced to recant their Christian beliefs or face execution, Nicholas gained a reputation as a fiery, wiry and uncompromising supporter of church teaching.
- Nicholas’s renown lasted for a long time after his death (which occurred on December 6 in the mid-fourth century, about 343) because he was linked with several miracles, and veneration for him continues to this day, regardless of whether or not it is associated with Christmas.
- Nicholas rose to prominence among the saints as a result of his role as patron saint of a large number of organizations.
- During the most well-known version of the story, three young girls are spared from a life of prostitution when young Bishop Nicholas sends three bags of gold to their indebted father, which may be used to pay for their dowries.
- Nicholas walked into an inn whose keeper had recently murdered three lads and pickled their mutilated remains in cellar barrels.
- Not only did the bishop detect the crime, but he also brought the victims back to life.
- Nicholas was the undisputed bringer of presents and the toast of celebrations centered on his feast day, December 6, and he was never challenged.
- He also made certain that the children stayed on the right side of the law by encouraging them to pray and demonstrate good behavior.
- “That was an issue,” Bowler said.
- Bowler stated that, in many situations, the responsibility rested on the shoulders of infant Jesus, and the date was changed from December 6 to Christmas.
Consequently, the Christ child was frequently accompanied by a frightening companion to assist him with the carrying of gifts and intimidating of children, which did not seem suitable coming from the infant Jesus.” Some of these frightening Germanic creatures were modeled on Nicholas once more, this time as a dangerous sidekick rather than as a saint, like Ru-klaus (Rough Nicholas), Aschenklas (Ashy Nicholas), and Pelznickel (Pelznickel) were (Furry Nicholas).
This group of personalities either expected youngsters to behave well or subjected them to punishments such as whippings or kidnappings.
Despite their apparent dissimilarity to the cheerful guy in red, these vibrant figures would eventually play an important role in the formation of Santa himself. (This is related to: “What Is the Meaning of Krampus? The Horrific Christmas Devil is explained in detail “) ) ) ) ) ) ) )
Coming to America
In the Netherlands, children and families just refused to give up the tradition of St. Nicholas bringing gifts. They transported the tale of Sinterklaas with them to the New World colonies, where the legends of the hairy and terrifying Germanic gift bringers persisted as well. However, Christmas in early America was very different from the present celebration. In New England, the event was avoided, and in other parts of the country, it had taken on the appearance of the pagan Saturnalia that had formerly held the same spot on the calendar.
- And there was no specific, mystical gift-giver who appeared.” Then, during the first decades of the nineteenth century, everything changed owing to a group of poets and authors who worked hard to make Christmas a family celebration—by renewing and rebuilding the figure of St.
- Nickerbocker’s History of New York, written by Washington Irving in 1809, depicted a pipe-smoking Nicholas floating above the roofs in a flying wagon, giving presents to good girls and boys and switching presents with bad ones.
- With this apparition, “Santa Claus” has made his public debut, according to Bowler.
- Nicholas’ supernatural gift-giving, which has been stripped of all religious qualities.
- Originally written for his six children, Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From St.
- Moore had no intention of contributing to the burgeoning Santa Claus myth.
- “It went viral,” Bowler said of the video.
- The photograph, which Bowler described as “absolutely the likeness of George Washington riding on a broomstick,” was taken by him.
- Santa’s cheery, chubby, grandfatherly look was mostly conceived by Thomas Nast, the renowned political cartoonist of an era in which there were many of them.
According to Bowler, “He’s done an excellent job of taming these characters from the late medieval period that were like something out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale.”
The Santa problem
When it came to giving up St. Nicholas as a gift-giver in the Netherlands, children and families were adamant. In the New World colonies, they brought Sinterklaas with them, and the traditions of the hairy and terrifying Germanic gift bringers persisted to this day. In contrast to today’s Christmas, Christmas in early America was a quite different occasion. Throughout New England, the celebration was derided, and elsewhere it had evolved into something like to Saturnalia, the pagan festival that had formerly held the same spot on the calendar.
- “Even in England, it had devolved into this state of affairs.
- Nicholas—by restoring the tradition of giving.
- When an anonymous illustrated poem entitled “The Children’s Friend” was published in 1821, it went a long way toward establishing the contemporary Santa Claus and linking him with the holiday season.
- Nicholas’ supernatural gift-giving, which has been stripped of any religious qualities.
- It was for his six children that Clement Clarke Moore penned “A Visit From St.
- He had no idea of contributing to the burgeoning Santa Claus craze at the time.
- As Bowler put it, “It went viral.” Although the poem is well known, it still leaves plenty to the imagination, and Santa appeared in a number of varied outfits, sizes ranging from small to huge, and disguises throughout the nineteenth century.
- “It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century,” he said, that the picture of Santa became established as an adult clothed in red with white fur trim, traveling forth from the North Pole on a reindeer-drawn sleigh, and keeping an eye on children’s behavior.
- However, Nast “left him half-sized and in what I believe to be very terrible long johns,” Bowler continued.
“What he’s done is very much tame these Grimm’s Fairy Tales-type figures from the late medieval period,” Bowler remarked of the author’s accomplishment.
How Old Is Santa Claus? Here’s Everything You Wanted to Know
So many things to like about Christmas—baking Christmas cookies, hanging stockings, singing Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies, purchasing gifts, and decorating the tree are just a few of the things I enjoy about it. There’s also the jolly old man himself, who goes by the name of Santa Claus. Santa Claus distributes gifts to “good” children all across the world every year, and we all know that he has eight reindeer and is married to Mrs. Claus. But what do we really know about Santa Claus?
What is Santa’s exact age?
Read on for answers to all of your questions regarding Santa Claus’s age, birthdate, how he came to be known as Santa Claus, and where he was born (spoiler alert: it wasn’t at the North Pole!) So get some milk and cookies ready, crank on your favorite Christmas music, and get ready to hear some interesting facts about Santa.
Exactly how old is Santa?
Currently, Santa Claus is 1,750 years old, according to the blogEmail Santa, as of 2021. As a matter of fact, the origins of Santa Claus can be traced all the way back to a monk named Saint Nicholas, who was born between 260 and 280 A.D. in a hamlet called Patara, which is now a part of modern-day Turkey, and lived during the time of the Roman Empire. Santa Claus has been around for 1,750 years. In the years leading up to the birth of Saint Nicholas as Santa Claus, there were several traditions about him performing deeds of generosity, such as offering financial aid to a family so that they would not be forced to sell their daughters into slavery.
In recognition of these and other famous actions, he earned a reputation as a defender of children and seafaring families.
When is Santa’s birthday?
According to SantaClaus.com, Santa’s birthday is celebrated on March 15. Make a note of it for next year on your calendar! Santa Claus is much older than you may expect! Getty Images courtesy of inhauscreative
How did we go from Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus?
According to TIME, the tale of Saint Nicholas was still being carried about throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries when the publication was published. It was customary in the Netherlands to celebrate St. Nicholas Day by dressing up as the saint and visiting door-to-door, giving children little presents or coal, depending on how good or evil they had been that year. The origins of the tradition of Saint Nicholas in North America, however, are a little of a mystery, according to historians.
Nicholas, commonly known as Santa Claus” in the 1770s, which is the earliest recorded mention to Santa Claus in the United States.
It was because they came from places where St.
Nicholas as eitherSamichlaus orSanti-Chlaus in various dialects of Schweizerdeutsch, or Swiss-German. In any case, it’s simple to understand how the name “Santi-Chlaus” would have evolved into “Santa Claus” through the course of history.
So, how old is Santa’s wife, Mrs. Claus?
Mrs. Claus, according to Email Santa, is only a few years younger than her spouse, according to the website. She has been alive for 1,139 years. After opening your gifts this year, don’t forget to wish her a happy birthday by saying the following words: According to her official website, her birthday is on Christmas Day. This material has been imported from another source. Visiting their website may allow you to access the same stuff in a different format, or it may provide you with even more information than you could get elsewhere.
- If you’re avoiding shopping malls because of the COVID-19 outbreak, you might want to try hosting a virtual Santa visit for your children this year.
- Jamie Ballard is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom.
- She has written for a variety of publications.
- You may be able to discover further information on this and other related items at the website piano.io.
It is believed that Saint Nicholas was a Christian bishop who cared for the impoverished and ill, and he served as inspiration for the iconic figure of Santa Claus.
Who Was Saint Nicholas?
Saint Nicholas was a Christian bishop who devoted his life to assisting the poor. Following his death, the tale of his gift-giving spread even farther. Saint Nicholas was converted into the renowned persona known as Santa Claus, who is responsible for delivering Christmas gifts to children all over the world.
Saint Nicholas was born about the year 280 in Patara, Lycia, which is now a part of the modern-day Turkish Republic. The young man lost both of his parents when he was a small boy. He apparently utilized his fortune to assist the destitute and sick. He was a pious Christian who ultimately rose to the position of bishop of Myra, which is today known as Demre.
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the subject of several stories and folklore. One narrative talks of him assisting three impoverished sisters. Their father did not have enough money to pay their dowries and contemplated selling them into slavery in order to supplement his income. A total of three times, Saint Nicholas made a surprise visit to their home at night and left a bag of money at the door.
The money was used by the guy to arrange for one of his daughters to marry. The guy saw Saint Nicholas on his third visit and expressed his gratitude to him for his generosity. He is also said to have rescued the lives of three persons who had been wrongfully imprisoned and condemned to death.
Death and Legacy
Saint Nicholas is supposed to have died on December 6, 343 according to a number of different accounts. His miracles and charitable work for the poor expanded throughout the world as word of his miracles and charitable work for the destitute spread. He gained notoriety as a defender of children and seafarers, and he was also linked with the distribution of gifts. At least until the Reformation in the 1500s, he was a popular saint throughout Europe. The Reformation was a theological movement that resulted in the foundation of Protestantism, which rejected the practice of honoring religious figures such as saints.
- The Dutch continued to commemorate the feast of Saint Nicholas, which took place on December 6.
- They would find the presents that Saint Nicholas had left for them when they woke up the next morning.
- While in America, Saint Nicholas underwent several transformations: Sinterklaas became Santa Claus, and instead of presenting presents on December 6, he became an integral part of the Christmas season.
- Santa Claus, as seen in an 1881 painting by cartoonist Thomas Nast, contributed to the tradition of Saint Nicholas by donning a red outfit with white fur trim.
- In 2017, a team from the University of Oxford radiocarbon tested a piece of a pelvic bone that was thought to have belonged to Saint Nicholas.
- The results of the test indicated that the bone fragment, which belonged to an American priest, belonged to the saint’s time period.
We aim for accuracy and fairness in all we do. If you see something that doesn’t appear to be quite right, please let us know!
Awaiting the Arrival of Old St. Nick
When does the holiday season officially begin? The solution these days appears to be “as quickly as feasible,” according to merchants. Even while the weekend after Thanksgiving has traditionally been regarded as the unofficial start of the holiday season, other days have also held this distinction. Every year, December 6 was a particularly memorable day for Pittsburghers of Christian European origin, particularly Germans. Saint Nicholas’ feast day was celebrated on December 6th, and children awakened to discover their shoes or stockings filled with fruits, nuts, chocolate coins, and other sweets, a present from him in honor of the occasion.
- Nicholas Day” marked the beginning of a month-long period of festivities.
- Supposedly, Nicholas was a rich young man from Asia Minor who rose through the ranks to become Bishop of Myra, a Mediterranean city in what is now Turkey.
- After his death, he was held in high regard.
- As a result, this event became intertwined with other regional customs and expanded throughout Europe, Greece and Asia Minor.
- Nicholas, also known asSankt Nikolaus in German andSinterklaas in Dutch, is considered to be the forerunner of our current Santa Claus.
- Nick’s bishop’s cap, which indicates his liturgical roots, is very similar to those of the two figures in question.
- Nicholas Day cards from the early 1900s.
Nicholas Day were popular in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, and other European nations during the nineteenth century.
Nicholas Center for allowing us to use their photographs of these cards.
Nicholas Day was brought to the United States by a number of different immigrant communities.
Every year, Pittsburgh joined the likes of Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and St.
Nicholas Day is observed on December 19 every year in Pittsburgh by those of Eastern Orthodox religions.
Nicholas Day in Pittsburgh, a multi-ethnic, industrial city with a rich industrial heritage.
The lines between different traditions become a little blurred at times.
Nicholas Day” by announcing it on the city’s official calendar.
30 and Dec.
The titles “St.
The two figures had actually become increasingly synonymous in American culture since the publication of the poem “A Visit from St.
Nick was simply described as being “all in fur” from head to foot, with no Bishop’s mitre to be found.
In Pittsburgh, in 1928, Santa was accompanied by a genuine reindeer and a few Eskimo helpers as part of the “St.
Despite this, the blending of the names revealed the historical relationship between the two individuals in question.
During the 1920s, the holiday balancing act between ethnic identification and American identity was something that everyone, especially local companies, was thinking about.
There were 8,000 children in 1923, according to the census, and photographs show lines of them marching around an enormous Christmas tree, each of them carrying a bag stuffed with candies and popcorn balls.
Nevertheless, when they returned home and opened those bags of candy and popcorn balls, they discovered that the mill that had shaped their lives had sent a clear message about its holiday aspirations for the next generation: those Christmas popcorn balls were red, white, and blue in color, just like the United States flag.
Kenneth Brooks generously donated this photograph from the Detre Library Archives at the Heinz History Center.
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Who is St. Nicholas?
The actual narrative of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born in the third century in the hamlet of Patara in Asia Minor, and lived until his death in the fourth century. The location was Greek at the time, and it is currently located on the southern coast of Turkey. Nicholas’s rich parents, who had taught him to be a devoted Christian, perished in an epidemic when he was still a child, leaving him to raise alone. Nicholas followed Jesus’ command to “sell what you have and give the money to the poor,” and he utilized his whole inheritance to help the poor, the ill, and those who were in need of assistance.
- Bishop Nicholas was well-known across the country for his kindness to people in need, his fondness for children, and his care for sailors and ships, among other things.
- The jails were so overcrowded with bishops, priests, and deacons that there was no place for the true criminals—murderers, thieves, and robbers—to be held.
- He died on December 6, AD 343 in Myra, and was buried in his cathedral church, where a rare relic known as manna developed in his tomb, which is now preserved at the museum.
- The anniversary of his death has been commemorated as St.
- The life and activities of St.
- These narratives assist us in comprehending his exceptional nature and the reasons why he is so cherished and regarded as a defender and helper of those who are in need.
- In ancient days, a young woman’s parent had to provide something of value to potential spouses in the form of a dowry.
A lady was unlikely to marry if she did not have a dowry.
On three separate times, a mysteriously appearing bag of gold came at their home, supplying them with the dowries they need.
This resulted in the tradition of youngsters hanging stockings or laying shoes outside their doors in anticipation of gifts from Saint Nicholas.
As a result, three gold balls, which are frequently shown as oranges, are one of the emblems associated with St.
As a result, St.
One of the first traditions that depicts St.
On the eve of the holy saint’s feast day, the people of Myra were busy commemorating the saint when a gang of Arab pirates from Crete sailed into the area, causing chaos.
As they were about to leave town, they kidnapped a little boy named Basilios and sold him as a slave.
The next year, Basilios served the monarch by giving him wine in an ornate golden cup, which the king appreciated.
As the next St.
She was convinced, though, to have a small observance at home, complete with silent prayers for Basilios’s well-being and safety.
In front of the scared kid, St.
Imagine the delight and amazement on his parents’ faces as Basilios miraculously reappeared in front of them, still carrying the king’s golden cup.
Nicholas safeguarding children, which has since become his principal duty in the Western world.
A vengeful innkeeper stole and killed them, then concealed their bodies in a huge pickling tub for safekeeping.
In the middle of the night, he had a dream about the crime and woke up, calling the innkeeper.
French children’s literature tells the story of three tiny children who wandered away from their play until they became lost, seduced, and caught by a wicked butcher.
Nicholas arrives and implores God to bring them back to life and reunite them with their family.
Nicholas is known as the patron saint of children and their defender.
When he was younger, Nicholas went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in order to seek the divine guidance.
When the ship was returning by sea, a powerful storm threatened to sink it.
It took the sailors by surprise when the wind and seas suddenly calmed, saving them all from certain drowning.
Nicholas is known as the patron saint of sailors and voyagers.
He performed several acts of kindness and generosity in secret, with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
As a result, he is revered in the East as a wonder worker, and in the West as the patron of a wide range of people, including children and sailors as well as bankers and pawnbrokers as well as scholars and orphans, laborers, travelers, merchants, judges and paupers as well as marriageable maidens and students as well as sailors and victims of judicial errors as well as captives, perfumers, and even thieves and murderers!
- He is well-known as a friend and protector to those who are in difficulty or in need (see list).
- Nicholas as their patron, traveled the world spreading legends of his favor and protection.
- Nicholas chapels were constructed at a number of seaports.
- As a result of his baptism, Grand Prince Vladimir I carried the tales of Saint Nicholas and the devotion to Saint Nicholas to his motherland, where Nicholas quickly rose to the position of most cherished saint.
- Nicholas’ grave in Myra became a renowned pilgrimage destination as a result of his death.
- The Italian towns of Venice and Bari competed for the relics of St.
- Sailing from Bari, a seaport on the southeast coast of Italy, in the spring of 1087, seamen were successful in removing the bones and transporting them to the city of Bari.
Nicholas’ crypt, an impressive church was built, and many faithful pilgrims made the journey to pay their respects to the saint, who had rescued countless people, including children, prisoners, sailors, famine victims and many others, through his compassion, generosity, and the countless miracles attributed to his intercession.
- Throughout the years, Catholics and Orthodox have continued to respect and honor St.
- The legends of St.
- Boys costumed as bishops collected donations for the destitute in Germany and Poland—and occasionally for themselves, too!
- Nicholas came in the Netherlands and Belgium on a steamer from Spain, where he rode a white horse on his gift-giving rounds.
- Saint Nicholas is commemorated on the 5th of December, on the eve of the day before, by exchanging sweets (which are tossed through the door), chocolate initial letters, little presents, and riddles.
- Nicholas’ horse, expecting that the saint will exchange the items for little gifts.
- Who is St.
- an analysis of the language on this page produced a word cloud To see a bigger version of this photograph, please click here.
Wordle.net was used to make this image. Henri Gheon’s Saint Nicholas, published by Sheed & Ward in 1936, with illustrations by Elisabeth Ivanovsky. Copyright courtesy of Elisabeth Ivanovsky, with gracious permission to use for the exclusive benefit of St. Nicholas Center. return to the beginning
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle, has a rich and illustrious history that is immersed in Christmas customs. Although he is best known today as the cheerful guy in red who distributes gifts to good girls and boys on Christmas Eve, Saint Nicholas’s history dates back to the 3rd century, when he roamed the earth and was designated as the patron saint of children by Pope Nicholas I. More information is available on the history of Santa Claus, from his earliest origins to the shopping mall Santas of today.
The Legend of St. Nicholas: The Real Santa Claus
A long and illustrious history of Christmas traditions may be traced back to Saint Nicholas, sometimes known as Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle. Although he is best known today as the cheerful guy in red who distributes gifts to good girls and boys on Christmas Eve, Saint Nicholas’s history dates back to the 3rd century, when he roamed the earth and was designated as the patron saint of children by Pope Nicholas II. More information is available on the history of Santa Claus, from his earliest origins to the shopping mall Santas of today.
Sinter Klaas Comes to New York
Towards the close of the 18th century, St. Nicholas made his first forays into popular culture in the United States of America. An article in a New York newspaper indicated that groups of Dutch families had congregated to commemorate the anniversary of his death in December 1773 and again in December 1774. In Dutch, Nick was known by the moniker Sinter Klaas, which is a shortened version of the name Sint Nikolaas. The term Santa Claus sprang from this nickname (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In 1804, during the annual meeting of the New York Historical Society, John Pintard, a member of the society, handed woodcuts of St.
- Stockings packed with gifts and fruit draped above a fireplace decorate the backdrop of the etching, which is now widely recognized as belonging to Santa Claus.
- Nicholas as the patron saint of the city of New York.
- Since the holiday’s resurgence in the early nineteenth century, gift-giving has played a prominent role in the celebration, with the majority of gifts being directed toward children.
- Stores began advertising Christmas shopping around 1820, and by the 1850s, newspapers were producing special sections for holiday commercials.
- It was only a matter of time before retailers began luring youngsters and their parents into their stores with the promise of a glimpse of a “real” Santa Claus.
- They began by dressing up jobless guys in Santa Claus outfits and dispatching them onto the streets of New York to seek money from passing motorists.
- Watch this video to see what shopping was like in the 1950s.
- During the film’s production, a young Natalie Wood played a small child who believes Kris Kringle (played by Edmund Gwenn, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance) when he claims to be the actual Santa Claus.
Since its inception in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has featured almost every Macy’s Santa, and fans of all ages continue to queue up to meet him in New York City and at Macy’s stores across the country, where they can pose for photos on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.
PUBLICATIONS: Vintage Photographs from The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade SEE MORE:
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
A Christmas poem for his three daughters, written in 1822 by Episcopal priest Clement Clarke Moore, entitled “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” which has become known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” was written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822 for his three daughters. In part because of the frivolous nature of the subject matter of Moore’s poem, which he was first hesitant to publish, our current picture of Santa Claus as a “right jolly old elf” with a portly body and the miraculous ability to ascend a chimney with a simple nod of his head came into being.
With “An Account of a Visit from St.
In 1881, political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew inspiration from Moore’s poem to develop the first depiction of Santa Claus that is comparable to our present image.
Nast is the one who provided Santa with his brilliant red coat trimmed with white fur, the North Pole workshop, the elves, and his wife, Mrs.
Santa Claus Around the World
Santa Claus, as he was known in eighteenth-century America, was not the only gift-giver who drew inspiration from St. Nicholas to come at Christmastime. Identical figurines and Christmas customs can be seen in other parts of the world. Christkind, also known as Kris Kringle, was believed to provide gifts to well-behaved youngsters in Switzerland and Germany. Christkind, which literally translates as “Christ kid,” is an angel-like figure that frequently travels with St. Nicholas on his Christmas trips.
Father Christmas is said to visit each home on Christmas Eve to fill the stockings of the children with festive sweets, according to English legends.
Throughout Italy, there is a legend about a woman known as La Befana.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Meet Krampus, the Christmas Devil who punishes children who have been misbehaving.
Christmas Traditions in the United States
In the United States, Santa Claus is frequently shown as flying from his home to his home on Christmas Eve, delivering presents to the youngsters in his care. He is accompanied by his magical sleigh and reindeer, who include Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph, who is the most well-known of them all. Santa enters each home through the chimney, which is why empty Christmas stockings—once empty socks, but now often dedicated stockings made specifically for the occasion—are “hung by the Chimney with care, in hopes that St.
- Santa enters each home through the chimney, which is why empty Christmas stockings—once empty socks, but now often dedicated stockings made specifically for the occasion—are “hung by the Chimney with Stockings can be stuffed with candy canes, other sweets, or miniature toys for the holidays.
- Claus, as youngsters write letters to Santa Claus and watch Santa’s movement around the world as he travels around the world.
- Santa Claus maintains a “naughty list” and a “good list” to select who should get gifts on Christmas morning, and parents frequently refer to these lists as a means of ensuring that their children are acting in the best interests of the family.
- Santa Claus is on his way to town.
He can see you even when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake and when you’re asleep. He can tell if you’ve been terrible or good, so do your best to be good for goodness sake! MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: It Was During World War II That Santa Claus Was Deployed
The Ninth Reindeer, Rudolph
It took more than a century for Rudolph, the “most renowned reindeer of them all,” to be born, more than 100 years after his eight flying colleagues. Robert L. May, a copywriter for the Montgomery Ward department store, was the brains behind the invention of the red-nosed marvel. In 1939, May created a story-poem about Christmas to help get customers into his business during the holiday season. May presented the narrative of Rudolph, a young reindeer who was harassed by the other deer because of his enormous, bright red nose, in a rhyme pattern similar to Moore’s “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” in which he was teased by the other deer because of his large, shining red nose.
Rudolph’s message, which said that if given the opportunity, a liability may be transformed into an asset, was well received.
After being reprinted in 1946, the book went on to sell more than three and a half million copies worldwide.
Gene Autry recorded the song, which went on to sell more than two million copies.
St. Nicholas, Santa Claus & Father Christmas on whychristmas?com
St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century at a city named Myra in Asia Minor, and is known as the patron saint of sailors (now calledTurkey). The fact that his parents died while he was young and left him a large sum of money made him a very wealthy guy indeed. He was also a compassionate and kind man who had a reputation for assisting the destitute and delivering covert presents to those in need of assistance. There are various tales about St. Nicholas, yet we have no way of knowing which ones are real or not!
Nicholas Center (www.stnicholascenter.org) provided this image.
Nicholas recalls the account of how the tradition of hanging stockings to fill with gifts got its start!
(A dowry is an amount of money given to the bridegroom by the bride’s parents on the day of the wedding.) Some countries continue to use this practice to this day.) Nicholas slipped a bag of gold down the chimney and entered the house one night in the middle of the night (this meant that the oldest daughter was then able to be married).
- This was done with the second daughter a short time later.
- Nicholas pleaded with the man not to tell anybody about what he had done since he did not want to draw attention to himself.
- It wasn’t long before word of Nicholas’s presence spread, and anybody who received a hidden present was assumed to have gotten it from him.
- Not only is St.
- His assistance to three sailors who were stuck in a terrible storm off the coast of Turkey is recounted in one anecdote (see below).
- They pleaded with St.
- At that moment, he appeared in front of them, standing on the deck.
- In 325, St.
- No one knows exactly when St Nicholas passed away, but it occurred on the 6th of December in either 343 (which appears to be the most likely year), 345, or 352.
- Currently, the bones are stored at the Church that bears his name in the Italian coastal city of Bari.
In 1066, just before setting sail for England, William the Conqueror prayed to St. Nicholas, pleading for the saint to grant him success in his conquest. The St. Nicholas Center has a wealth of information on St. Nicholas.
How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
During the sixteenth century in northern Europe, following the Reformation, the myths and rituals around St. Nicholas became more unpopular. However, someone had to deliver gifts to children at Christmas, so in the United Kingdom, particularly in England, he was known as ‘St Christmas’, ‘Father Christmas’, or ‘Old Man Christmas,’ a character who appeared in story plays during the Middle Ages in the United Kingdom and parts of northern Europe, and who is still around today. In France, he was known as ‘Père Nöel’ at the time.
- His given name was ‘Kris Kringle’ throughout the early years of his life in the United States (from the Christkind).
- Nicholas with them, and Kris Kringle and St Nicholas became known as ‘Sinterklaas,’ or as we now refer to him, ‘Santa Claus’, in the process.
- Nicholas’s Day.
- Nicholas Eve) to be filled with gifts, which is celebrated as St.
- They also think that if they put some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklaas’s horse, they would be rewarded with sweets as a result of their generosity.
- Nicholas in the 1800s, the holiday became popular once more.
‘The Children’s Friend: A New Year’s Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve’ was published with eight illustrations in a book titled ‘The Children’s Friend: A New-Present, Year’s to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve’, and it is one of the earliest images of “Santa Claus” rather than St Nicholas or Sinterklaas.
The renowned poem ‘A Visit from St.
In later years, Dr Clement Clarke Moore said that he had composed it just for his children.
In the poem, St.
Is it possible for you to recall the eight names of Santa’s principal reindeer? To find out, simply click on Rudolph’s nose! To learn more about my buddies, simply click on my nose!
- Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (also known as Dunder and Donder), Blitzen (also known as Blixem, Blixen, and Blicksem)
- Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid
- Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet
Rudolph was originally introduced to the public in 1939, when he was featured in a book authored by Robert L May for the Montgomery Ward department store chain. Later, in 1948, Rudolph was the subject of a cartoon that was produced, and in 1949, the famous song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was composed about him. A book named ‘The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus’ was written in 1902 by author L. Frank Baum (who is also known for writing the Wizard of OZ). There is a squad of ten reindeer listed on the page.
- Other reindeer have been given names in various works of literature, television programs, films, and songs.
- Who knew that Rudolph and the other reindeer working for Santa could possibly be all female?
- By Christmas, the majority of male deer have shed their antlers and are conserving their energy in preparation for the growth of a new set in the spring.
- Some believe that Santa Claus resides at the North Pole in the Arctic Circle.
- Nobody disputes that he rides through the skies on a sledge drawn by reindeer, that he enters houses through the chimney at night and leaves gifts for children in socks or bags by their beds, in front of the family Christmas tree, or by a fireplace.
- Nicholas’ Eve, which falls on December 5th.
- Nicholas stuffing the sack of gold into a stocking on Christmas morning.
- The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 51 meters 35 centimeters (168 feet 5.65 inches) in length and 21 meters 63 centimeters (70 feet 11.57 inches) in width (from the heel to the toe).
- Consider how many gifts you could possibly cram into that space!
Santa Claus and Coca-Cola
Harper’s Weekly published an article about St. Nicholas in January 1863. There’s a Christmas Urban Legend that claims that Coca-Cola created Santa’s red costume and that they may even ‘own’ Santa, according to the legend. This is certainly NOT the case! St Nicholas wore his Bishop’s crimson robes long before coke was developed, and he was the first person to do so. He wore a variety of hues (red, green, blue, and brown fur) during Victorian times and before that, but red was always his favorite!
He was dressed in a ‘Stars and Stripes’ attire for this occasion!
In designing Santa’s appearance, Nast drew inspiration from historical knowledge about Santa, the poem ‘A Visit from St.
Nicholas in January 1881.
From 1900 to 1930, this image of Santa became increasingly prominent, with more painters depicting Santa in his red and white suit throughout this time period.
He took the idea of Nast’s Santa and made him even larger than life and more cheery, replacing the pipe with a glass of Coca-Cola, and so created the renowned Coca-Cola-holding Santa!
Since 1931, Coca-Cola has included Santa Claus in its advertising campaigns.
In 1995, they debuted the ‘Coca-Cola Christmas truck’ as part of the ‘Holidays are coming’ television advertisements. The red truck, decked out in lights and emblazoned with the iconic ‘Coke Santa’ logo on its sides, has become a well-known aspect of recent Christmas history.