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Origin of Santa Claus: Quite Bizarre History of Saint Nicholas

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Origin of Santa Claus: Quite Bizarre History of Saint Nicholas
Where did Santa Claus came from?

The origin of Santa Claus, from who he is to where he came from, is actually quite bizarre. As time went on, he and his story developed into a symbol of the Yuletide season.

The existence of Santa Claus has long been instilled in us as a child that we eventually failed to wonder who the old guy is with a white puffy beard wearing a red suit and sneaking into our homes. But where did he really come from?

Origin of Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas was born in 280 A.D. and lived near Myra in Asia Minor, now Turkey. He amassed a huge sum of fortune after his father died which he gave to the poor and sick. One of the famous stories about St. Nicholas is when he bizarrely dropped bags of gold, one for each, through a chimney to save three sisters from prostitution. The money was used for the girls to pay their dowries.

Later on, he was regarded as the patron saint of children and sailors while his feast day falls on the sixth day of December every year, a day where people celebrate it by making large purchases for the famous patron saint in Europe.

For many generations, St. Nicholas’ feast day was celebrated by many until it became a rowdy and intoxicated event. Therefore, artists and poets worked to change the image of St. Nicholas in the early 1800s.

The Festive Saint Nick

The nice and naughty list was first introduced in Knickerbocker History of New York by Washinton Irving that was published in 1809 where Santa was said to fly above houses while riding a wagon. As for bad children, they were given switches instead of presents.

Santa Claus’ image drastically transformed much closer to the Santa we know now in a poem titled The Children’s Friend. His wagon was then pulled by a reindeer and his costume changed too as it was derived from Germanic traditions of shaggy furs.

But it was the famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822 titled A Visit From Saint Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, that marked the fireworks moment of the traditional Christmas celebration of Christmas trees, socks and whatnot.

Where Santa Got His Name

St. Nicholas is now more famously known by everyone as Santa Claus, but before he was known with a more complicated nickname. Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch translation of the good ol’ Saint Nick’s name Sint Nikolaas. Meanwhile, the Dutch’s moniker for Saint Nick was Sinter Klaas which later on transformed to today’s simpler Santa Claus.

The origin of Santa Claus may be a bizarre one that once involved wild outdoor parties and a helping hand for girls in the verge of surrendering to prostitution. But ultimately, the spirit of giving and sharing in Christmastime is one that transcends through time.

Photo source: Unsplash

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