Christmas is probably the best time of the year for many of us. The magic of this night when baby Jesus was born cannot be compared with anything else. The moments when we celebrate Christmas with our families and friends are precious ones, that kind of moments that we never forget.
The Christmas tree, the gifts under it and the special gingerbread cookies remind us of childhood. And when we say Santa Claus, a lot of wonderful memories come to our mind. Remember when you were six and you sat on Santa’s knees? What about that year when you found under the tree the most beautiful doll in the world? Or when you noticed with joy that Santa ate all the cookies you left for him? And the list can go on. We all keep these kind of memories in a special place of our hearts. And we all believe in Santa Claus, in a way or another, even when we grow up. But have you ever wondered who is Santa and where does he come from? Do you know the history and legend of Santa Claus? Here are some facts we found out about him:
The name “Santa Claus” comes from Saint Nicholas, a christian saint worshiped as a great wonder-worker by Orthodox and Catholic Christians. The historical Saint Nicholas was born in the year 270, in Asia Minor, in the city of Patra and he is considered a protector of children and students, patron of the sailors and merchants, defender of the True Faith and helper of the poor.
Saint Nicholas died in December 6, 343 in Myra and the anniversary of the his death became a day of celebration, an important feast for the Greek and Latin Christians and a special day for kids who used to receive gifts from the good old Saint Nicholas. In the Eastern Europe this tradition is still kept.
After the protestant Reformation from the 16th century, as the reformers were against the worship of Saints, the stories and traditions about St. Nicholas had become very unpopular in many parts of the world.
But because someone had to deliver presents in December, people invented another character, with different names: ‘Father Christmas’, in UK, ‘Père Nöel’ in France, and ‘Christ Kind’ in Germany. In the early USA they called him ‘Kris Kringle’, but after the Dutch settler took the old stories of St. Nicholas with them he became ‘Sinterklaas’ and then ‘Santa Claus’. In time, the UK Father Christmas and the American Santa Claus became more and more alike.
There are a lot of legends, customs and traditions around Santa Claus. Some people say Santa lives at the North Pole. In Finland, they say that he lives in Lapland. In most of the countries people say that Santa travels through the sky on a sledge, pulled by a reindeer. He comes into houses down the chimney, or he enters the window at night and places presents for good kids in socks or bags by their beds, by the fireplace or under the Christmas tree.
No matter where you live, this is the time of the year, when the good old gift giver is going to visit you. So, you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, you’d better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town! 🙂