What Race Was Saint Nicholas


Children are entertained by a man costumed as Santa Claus. (Photo courtesy of John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images ) You’re familiar with Dasher and Dancer, as well as Prancer and Vixen. But do you remember Saint Nicholas of Myra, the man who inspired the legend of Santa Claus? The legendary jolly old elf of Christmastime legend is based on the real figure of a Christian preacher who lived in the 4th century, according to legend. As time passed, people altered his legacy to meet their own cultural requirements, changing his characteristics along the way.

Here are five examples.

Saint Nicholas was a white European.

Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, and Father Christmas are all shown as white-skinned Europeans with rosy cheeks and white beards in the great majority of portrayals of the three characters. During a 2013 Fox News program, Megyn Kelly said that “Santa simply happens to be white,” despite the fact that she could have provided many instances from cinema, art, toys, and ads in support of her claim. Nicholas, on the other hand, had a Mediterranean complexion and spoke Greek. He was born somewhere after 260 at Patara, a port town on the coast of modern-day Turkey, and died there sometime after 260.

The term “white” was not a racial categorization that the ancient world was familiar with, and it would not have occurred to anyone at the time to define oneself in that manner as a result.

Saint Nicholas was a jolly man in a red coat.

From 1931 until 1964, the Coca-Cola Company commissioned artist Haddon Sundblom to create enchantingly warm depictions of Santa’s house and hearth for their advertising campaigns. Santa Claus, as painted by Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post, was cheery and content. Thomas Nast had previously illustrated Santa for Harper’s Weekly, complete with his characteristic red cloak, white beard, big belly, and pipe in the foreground. Nast may be credited for figuring out the key parts of Santa’s appearance in his creative and inventive pictures, which come from the second half of the nineteenth century and are still in existence today.

  • On the Mediterranean shore, there is no need for bulky furs.
  • For over two-thirds of Nick’s life, Christianity was a banned, persecuted, and marginalized faith.
  • The saint was also not known for having a pleasant personality.
  • He intervened at the last minute to prevent the executioner from carrying out his duties, and then faced the judge who had handed down the sentence.

Nicholas humiliated the judge, Eustathius, until he revealed that he’d taken bribes from the defendants. The story was not about joyful giving, but rather about a hard-nosed determination to stand up to injustice and win. So much for the holiday cheer of “ho ho ho.” Myth number three:

Saint Nicholas’s gift-giving inspired his legend.

“Three young girls are spared from a life of prostitution when young Bishop Nicholas surreptitiously sends three bags of gold to their indebted father, which can be used to pay for their dowries,” according to a National Geographic story charting Nicholas’s metamorphosis from saint to Santa Claus. Nicholas’s joyful transformation from bishop to Kris Kringle is described on theHistory Channel’s website, which also asserts that the story of the three dowries is “one of the most well-known of all the St.

  1. During the Middle Ages, the most prominent Nicholas legend revolved around a gruesome murder investigation.
  2. As the story goes, an unscrupulous innkeeper enticed three toddlers inside his establishment and cut them up before stuffing them into wooden pickle barrels.
  3. The horrible narrative became an immediate sensation.
  4. This anecdote contributed to Nicholas’s recognition as the protector and patron saint of children, which he received in part because of it.

Saint Nicholas punched a heretic.

Nicholas’s historical image as a stoic opponent of wrongdoing has occasionally been exaggerated to an extreme degree. According to mythology, during the Council of Nicaea in 325, Nicholas struck the arch-heretic Arius, who contended that Jesus, in his function as the Son, was not co-eternal with God. Arius was slapped by Nicholas by the 1500s, according to church paintings and icons from the time period. Some of the more modern memes depicting Saint Nicholas include: “Deck the halls? Try decking the heretic.” In another, he says: “I came to give presents to children and to punch heretics.

However, there is no evidence to imply that it was the consequence of Arius being hit by a haymaker.

Myth No.

Saint Nicholas’s remains have not been uncovered.

Recently, dramatic headlines flashed on the Internet, such “Body of St Nicholas buried in Demre, claim officials” and “Santa is no longer alive, according to archaeologists.” Archaeologists excavating beneath the tiled floor of the old Church of St. Nicholas in Demre, Turkey, discovered an open area or chamber beneath the tiled floor lately. They are hopeful that the room houses the saint’s undisturbed remains, despite the fact that they have not opened or examined it. Based on their efforts, it is possible to establish that the ultimate burial location of Saint Nicholas was unknown until this year.

  1. Following his death, which occurred sometime between 333 and 343 AD, Nicholas’s tomb at Demre became a popular worldwide pilgrimage site for Christians traveling to the Holy Land.
  2. Ten years later, a group of Venetian sailors broke into the church in Demre, collected together all of the leftover bone parts they could locate, and then transported them to Venice.
  3. In Morton Grove, Illinois, the bone was obtained from a collection in Lyon, France, and is now on display there.
  4. Nicholas is most likely to be found all across the world — and, of course, in all of our hearts as well.

[email protected] Five Myths is a weekly series that challenges everything you believe you know about the world. You may read more about prior misconceptions onOutlook, or you can follow our updates onFacebook and Twitter.

Sorry, America, Santa Claus Wasn’t Really White

15041 Following the hiring of an African-American man to portray Santa Claus at the Mall of America in Minnesota earlier this month, the internet erupted in outrage, with some calling for a boycott of the nation’s greatest shopping destination. Nonetheless, it has become quite evident that the United States cannot cope with the concept of a black Santa. White tears are about to flow. In case the fact that Santa Claus was not a white man wasn’t enough to make bigots cringe, there is now even more evidence that he was not white.

The Growth of White Santa

From the nineteenth century comes the well remembered picture of an elderly guy with a pale face and white beard who distributes presents. After that, Coca-Cola appropriated the image and turned it into an international emblem when the business started a long-running advertising campaign in the 1930s, which is still going strong today. The origins of this cultural emblem, on the other hand, go far further back in time. In reality, it extends back to before the founding of our country itself.

The Origins of St. Nick

It has been established that the merry mythological guy we know as Santa Claus was born in the second part of the 3rd century to a rich Christian family in the hamlet of Patara, which is now known as modern-day Turkey, to whom he was given the title of Saint Nicholas. In his early twenties, Nicholas made a hidden donation of three bags of gold to a poor father who was unable to pay for his daughters’ dowry and was planning to sell them into prostitution in order to supplement his income. During the course of three nights, Nicholas tossed a bag of gold through the man’s window.

  1. Nicholas, who had been a devoted Christian his whole life, became well-known for his charity and affection for children, and he was eventually appointed as the Bishop of Myra.
  2. 6.
  3. The tradition continues today.
  4. A modern-day forensic investigation of Saint Nicholas’s bones revealed that the bishop appeared to have been a light-brown man of color, rather than the white guy with bright red cheeks who has been shown in icons for centuries.
  5. In the words of Psychology Today, the Turkish-born saint “looked a lot more like Osama Bin Laden than the ordinary modern-day “white guy” or Coca-Santa Cola’s Claus.” The saint was born in Turkey.
  6. Thousands of youngsters throughout the world await Santa’s arrival once a year, bringing presents, love, and hope to their hearts.
  7. Instead, he should be embraced as a character of our imagination, and accepted in all of his manifestations–whether in the traditional sense or as the updated version established by The Black Santa Co.–and celebrated.

That’s a symbol that doesn’t come in a single shade of gray. Those interested in learning more about the forensic investigation of Saint Nicholas and his ethnicity might see the documentarySanta Clause The Real Face. Take a look at it below. CODE1 is represented as a percentage.

Scholar: Santa race claim nonsense

Megyn Kelly, a Fox News personality, argued that both Santa Claus and Jesus were white. Take it from a professional: Despite popular belief, Santa Claus does not exist, and queries concerning his ethnic background “just not make any sense.” The subject of whether Santa Claus should be white, according to Harvard Professor Laura Nasrallah, “doesn’t make any sense.” For starters, that is a really strange allegation because Santa does not exist – but don’t tell my three children about it.

You might be interested:  Where Is The Saint Lawrence Seaway

After Fox journalist Megyn Kelly maintained on her show Wednesday night that both Santa Claus and Jesus were white, Nasrallah, a specialist on the New Testament and early Christianity, came out in reaction to the outcry.

Also on POLITICO: Megyn Kelly claims that Jesus and Santa Claus were both Caucasian.

“It is historically impossible to introduce a category such as ‘white’ into fourth-century Asia Minor.” Nasrallah emphasizes that the historical Saint Nicholas and the present Santa Claus figure are not the same thing, and that the mythological Santa does not have a race since he is not genuine.

“We hope that Jesus has a similar appearance to us.” This year’s Santa Claus saga hasn’t been completely unproductive; Nasrallah claims that the provocative statements have served to draw attention to a bigger historical issue regarding how ancient characters are represented now.

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 area was Greek at the time, and it is now 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!

  1. He is well-known as a friend and protector to those who are in difficulty or in need (see list).
  2. Nicholas as their patron, traveled the world spreading legends of his favor and protection.
  3. Nicholas chapels were constructed at a number of seaports.
  4. 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.
  5. Nicholas’ grave in Myra became a renowned pilgrimage destination as a result of his death.
  6. The Italian towns of Venice and Bari competed for the relics of St.
  7. 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.
  • 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

Why is Santa white?

Nushi Mazumdar is a contributing writer for THE REVIEW. In contrast to common belief, St. Nick was most likely not a white man. MAZUMDARColumn Editor BYNUSHI MAZUMDARColumn Editor Despite the fact that America is a melting pot of cultures, it’s a little odd to see Santa depicted almost exclusively as a white man. It’s something I hadn’t given much consideration to until The Review’s editor-in-chief, Jacob Baumgart, brought it up to me with the question. It was a reasonable question: why is Santa always dressed in white?

  1. I’ve always assumed that Santa was a white man and have never truly questioned my assumptions.
  2. When I stopped to think about it, though, I was struck by the question, “Why is there no Asian Santa?” Or perhaps a Santa of a different ethnicity?
  3. I observe Christmas in the same way that everyone else does.
  4. To find out more about Santa Claus’s true heritage and whether or not the merry, bearded man is truly supposed to be white, I embarked on a journey of discovery and discovery.
  5. Nicholas, came from the Middle East and that he was based on him.
  6. Nicholas was born about the year 280 A.D.
  7. Consequently, St.

He was a little underweight, but he had a white beard and was beaming with happiness and friendliness.

Nicholas was a lot like the Santa we are all familiar with and believe in today (Santa is real: no one can tell me otherwise).

Despite the fact that he died on December 6, 343 CE, his memory and acts continued to live on in the hearts and imaginations of people who heard of him.

Nicholas grew more famous across Europe, particularly in Holland.

You might be interested:  What League Does Paris Saint Germain Play In

Nicholas gained notoriety in the United States.

The appearance of St.

Since people of color were not fully accepted into society and weren’t represented evenly at the time, it was definitely a good idea to make Santa Claus white.

Despite the significant success that has been made in our country in the fight against racial discrimination, there is still much more work to be done.

Isn’t it time that we have more in-depth discussions on these issues? After all, America is made up of people of many different colors and nationalities, all of whom ought to be represented on Santa’s team.

Saint Nicholas

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.

Nicholas, c.

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.

Saint Nicholas

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.

Early Life

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.

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.

  1. The Dutch continued to commemorate the feast of Saint Nicholas, which took place on December 6.
  2. They would find the presents that Saint Nicholas had left for them when they woke up the next morning.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The results of the test indicated that the bone fragment, which belonged to an American priest, belonged to the saint’s time period.

When the bone was identified, archaeologists wanted to compare it to other bones that had been attributed to Saint Nicholas, including those that had been held in a crypt at Bari, Italy, since the 11th century.

Fact Check

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!

Five myths about Saint Nicholas and the truth behind them

You’re familiar with Dasher and Dancer, as well as Prancer and Vixen. But do you remember Saint Nicholas of Myra, the man who inspired the legend of Santa Claus? The legendary jolly old elf of Christmastime legend is based on the real figure of a Christian preacher who lived in the 4th century, according to legend. Our forefathers altered his legacy to meet the demands of their respective cultures, changing his characteristics as they went. In as a result, the guy who inspired our favorite holiday tale is buried in legends and falsehoods.

  1. MYTH NO.
  2. Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, and Father Christmas are all shown as white-skinned Europeans with rosy cheeks and white beards in the great majority of portrayals of the three characters.
  3. He was born somewhere after 260 at Patara, a port town on the coast of modern-day Turkey, and died there sometime after 260.
  4. ST.
  5. From 1931 until 1964, the Coca-Cola Company commissioned artist Haddon Sundblom to create enchantingly warm depictions of Santa’s house and hearth for their advertising campaigns.
  6. Earlier in the year, Thomas Nast created a drawing of Santa for Harper’s Weekly, complete with his customary red cloak, white beard, big belly, and pipe (see below).
  7. On the Mediterranean shore, there is no need for bulky furs.

For over two-thirds of Nick’s life, Christianity was a banned, persecuted, and marginalized faith.

In what was likely the most significant occurrence from Nicholas’ life, which was first documented in the mid-6th century, he interfered in a judicial session and prevented a beheading from taking place, according to tradition.

The story was not about joyful giving, but rather about a hard-nosed determination to stand up to injustice and win.

3: The tale of Saint Nicholas was inspired by the gifts he gave to children.

The History Channel’s website argues that the narrative of Nicholas’ celebratory transformation from bishop to Kris Kringle is “one of the best known of the St.

Nicholas stories.” While this is the narrative that most clearly relates Nicholas to his function as a giver of presents in current tradition, his persona came to life as a result of an even more heinous tale.

The first known form goes back to the mid-10th century in the German state of Lower Saxony.

Nicholas arrived, revealed the heinous crime, and magically reassembled and brought the wretched children back to life with his healing touch.

The play was reenacted in cities and villages all throughout Europe by traveling actors and performers.


Nicholas’ historical reputation as a stoic opponent of wrongdoing has occasionally been exaggerated to an extreme degree.

It wasn’t until the 1500s that Nicholas was depicted slapping Arius in church frescoes and icons.

You might be interested:  Why Pinch On Saint Patrick Day

“You could try decking the heretic.” It is true that the Saint Nicholas’s intact skull, which is housed in a tomb in Bari, Italy, contains evidence that his nose had been severely broken during his life.

When a Venetian named Petrus de Natalibus recorded the incident in his writings in the late 13th century, more than 1,000 years after Nicholas’ death, it was the first time it had been recorded.

It couldn’t have been Arius himself, because he was not a bishop at the time and was therefore not in attendance at Nicaea.

5: The remains of Saint Nicholas have not yet been discovered.

A group of 62 sailors from the Italian port city of Bari came ashore in 1087, busted into the tomb, and quickly took the bones, transporting them to Bari on May 9, where they were buried.

Researchers at Keble College, Oxford University, have discovered that a pelvic-bone fragment attributed to Saint Nicholas dates back to the 4th century, which corresponds to the saint’s traditional life span of 900 years.

In Morton Grove, Illinois, the bone was obtained from a collection in Lyon, France, and is now on display there. St. Nicholas is most likely to be found all across the world — and, of course, in all of our hearts as well.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Nicholas rose to prominence among the saints as a result of his role as patron saint of a large number of organizations.
  3. 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.
  4. Nicholas walked into an inn whose keeper had recently murdered three lads and pickled their mutilated remains in cellar barrels.
  5. Not only did the bishop detect the crime, but he also brought the victims back to life.
  6. Nicholas was the undisputed bringer of presents and the toast of celebrations centered on his feast day, December 6, and he was never challenged.
  7. He also made certain that the children stayed on the right side of the law by encouraging them to pray and demonstrate good behavior.
  8. “That was an issue,” Bowler said.
  9. 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

Despite the fact that he obviously has the best of intentions, Santa has certainly sparked, and continues to spark, more than his fair share of controversy. In Russia, Santa Claus came into conflict with Joseph Stalin. Before the Russian Revolution, Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) was a popular Christmas figure who had taken on aspects of proto-Santas such as the Dutch Sinterklaas and adapted them to the Russian context. “When the Soviet Union was established, the communists prohibited the celebration of Christmas as well as the practice of gift giving,” Bowler explained.

Christmas was not replaced in Russia, and Soviet attempts to promote a secular version of Grandfather Frost, replete with a blue coat to avoid confusion with Santa, throughout Europe were eventually unsuccessful.

In the years immediately following World War II, American forces took their version of the cheerful guy across the world, and he was widely welcomed, according to Bowler, as a symbol of American generosity in reconstructing war-torn regions.

Santa is sometimes turned away because he is not a native speaker of the language.” Anti-Santa movements are quite strong in countries such as the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria, and Latin America, all of which are attempting to retain their original Christmas gift givers and rituals while protecting them from the North American Santa “he explained.

The information in this story has been updated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *