The History and Legend of Santa Claus
Any child will tell you Santa Claus comes from the North Pole, but Santa has a surprising history of his own which dates back to the third century. Whether you call him Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Father Christmas, we know Santa comes to visit us every year on Christmas Eve, but do you know where he originally comes from or how he travels around the whole world in one night?
There are several legends of Saint Nicholas but it is believed that he lived in modern day Turkey and was born in the third century. Saint Nicholas was a very rich bishop, admired for his kindness as he would travel the countryside giving gifts and helping poor families. He did not like to reveal himself as a gift giver and would often deliver gifts late at night in order to keep his identity a secret. There was once a poor man with three young daughters who received a gift from Saint Nicholas, he dropped a bag of gold down his chimney which fell into a stocking hung by the fireplace to dry. This started the tradition of hanging stockings over the fireplace ready for the arrival of Christmas gifts.
Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus
The name Santa Claus originated from Nicholas’ Dutch nickname ‘Sinter Klaas’. As children struggled to pronounce ‘Sinter Klass’, the name soon settled as Santa Claus around the world. As his popularity grew, Nicholas gained a positive reputation and was named a Saint. After his death, a feast day was created on December 6th, in honor of his generosity. Over time Saint Nicholas’ feast day became associated with Christmas Day, and was moved to December 25th, December 6th is now known as St. Nicholas Day. Many children get their Christmas presents on St. Nicholas’ Day instead of Christmas Eve.
The Man in the Red Suit
You may be thinking how did Saint Nicholas become a jolly old white bearded man wearing a red suit? As Saint Nicholas was a bishop he was illustrated in the traditional bishop’s cloak which has led to the image of him that we have today.
Santa Claus delights millions of children around the world with the anticipation of his arrival bringing so much excitement. His magical history enriches the holiday season around the globe for all who believe.