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Santa Claus

St. Nicholas

The modern fairy tale figure of Santa Claus used in pop culture is modeled after St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. 1)

One of the most venerated saints

For centuries, Saint Nicholas has been one of the most venerated saints in the West and the East. The largest shrine of Saint Nicholas is located in Bari, Italy. 2)

God's intervention

During the election of the bishop in Mir, it was agreed that the first person to enter the church in the morning to pray would assume this office. Supposedly, thanks to God's intervention, that person was Nicholas. 3)

Miracle of grain

St. Nicholas appeared in a dream to the captain of a ship with the grain on board. St. Nicholas induced the captain to deviate from his course (he was sailing from Alexandria to Constantinople) and call at the port of Andriake. There one hundred crowns of grain were landed and distributed among the starving inhabitants. When the ship arrived in Constantinople, it turned out that there was nothing missing in the cargo. 4)

Exorcism rituals

St. Nicholas was considered a saint who provided help for any need. He was even invoked in exorcism rituals. 5)

The patron saint of children

As early as the Middle Ages, St. Nicholas was considered the patron saint of children. Telling the story of the saint became very popular, and records from the 12th-century state that in France, on the eve of December 6, nuns would distribute gifts to children from poor families and leave them at the door in the evening. 6)

Different traditions

According to Dutch records, children left their shoes by the fireplace, in the Czech Republic they hung their socks on window frames, and in Austria, they put their shoes on the windowsill. 7)

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

In medieval Amsterdam, Santa Claus - Sinterklaas - would arrive by sailing ship from distant warm seas, and gifts placed in a sack would be carried by a dark-skinned servant - Zwarte Piet. 8)

Night Before Christmas

The concept of Santa Claus arriving from warm countries, not particularly suited to a snowy winter landscape, changed when Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem about the night before Christmas in 1823. In the poem, St. Nicholas arrives by sleigh harnessed to reindeer from the North Pole. This version has since become part of the tradition. 9)

The tradition of gift giving

The custom of giving gifts to each other is very old and in the Slavs, it originates from the cult of Veles, a deity associated with the earth, the underworld, and magic. In the Germans, it was Odin, the Norse god, who wore a white beard and a blue hooded cloak. Children would leave food for him and he would give them sweets and candies in return. In the Romans, the custom was associated with Saturnalia. 10)

Red coat and hat

The current image of Santa Claus - a red coat and hat - was popularized by the Coca-Cola company in 1930 through an advertisement for the drink. 11)


There are three post office addresses to which children can send these letters. These are Drobak in Norway, Rovaniemi in Finland, and the North Pole in Canada. The postal code is HOH OHO. 12)

Writing letters

It is a tradition for children to write letters to Santa Claus outlining their wishes for gifts. 13)

Santa Claus Village

There is a Santa Claus Village in Finland, about 5 mi from Rovaniemi. 14)

Mrs. Santa Claus

There is also Mrs. Santa Claus - Santa's wife who, according to Christmas tradition, bakes cookies together with elves and helps her husband prepare toys for children. She also distributes gifts to the nicest children. 15)

santa_claus.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/25 03:23 by aga