How Santa Claus Came To Be:
This is the true story of St. Nicholas whom we have all grown up with, and known as, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel and many other names he goes by. He is the one that has brought joy to us when we were children and now we get to see the same excitement on our children’s faces every year when they open their present’s on Christmas morning.
Nicholas was born during the third century in a village called Patara, Lycia which at the time was in the area that was Greek, which is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His parents were very wealthy people and they brought Nicholas up to be a devout Christian, but his faith was tested when his parents died from an epidemic while he was still very young. To help him get through is grief, it was Jesus’ words that helped, which were “to sell what you own and give the money to the poor.” He took those words to heart and used his whole inheritance to help the sick, needy and those that are suffering, and a way of showing their appreciation for all his hard work that he was doing and because of his commitment to his faith and his dedication to serving God, he was made a bishop of Myra, while still a young man.
There have been so many stories about St. Nicholas over the years, but the most famous one we have heard of, tells the story of ‘hanging the stocking up’ to put present’s in, this is how it first began.
There was a very poor man who had three daughters. He was so poor that he did not have enough money for one dowry let alone three so it would be impossible for his daughters to get married. (A dowry is something a father would give to the bridegroom on their wedding day, The bigger the dowry the better chance at finding a husband for each of his daughters, without dowries they will be destined to be sold into prostitution and slavery, I’m sorry to say, this still occurs in some countries today). One particular night Nicholas secretly visited the house, and dropped a bag of gold down the chimney, and ended up in one of the hanging stockings. Now, this meant his eldest daughter could get married. This happened a second time where Nicholas would drop a bag of gold down the chimney which meant his second daughter could also get married, but by now he was determined to finally find out who this generous person was, so he hid down by the fireplace every night just so he could catch a glimpse of him. He didn’t have to wait too long before Nicholas showed up, and the man caught him when he was leaving the money for the third time. Nicholas pleaded with the man to keep his identity a secret, as he didn’t want to draw attention to himself, but his secret soon got out and whenever anyone received a gift, it was thought it could be from Nicholas. This is where the idea of hanging a stocking came from…
Through his kindness, Nicholas was made a saint, not just of children, but of sailors too. There is a story of him helping some sailors at sea that was caught in a very bad storm on the border of Turkey. The men were very terrified as to what the outcome will be and left wondering when their ship would sink beneath the massive waves that came there way, as the storm was savagely beating down on the ship. The men were that desperate that they prayed so hard to St. Nicholas pleading him for help, suddenly there in front of them stood St. Nicholas, he commanded for the sea to be calm and still, the storm died away and the sea became calm, then the sailors had safe passage to carry on safely to port…
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian every Christian, bishop, priest, and deacon, were imprisoned for their faiths, and Nicholas was no exception as he was exiled from Myra… to be later put in prison, where he bared the brunt of it, by being tortured. The prison was full of people from the clergy, and because of that, they did not have any room left for the real criminals… thieves, murderers, and robbers instead they were free to re-offend over and over again!!! Eventually, he was released and died years later.
Did You Know?
- Rudolph and the other reindeer’s might well have been all girls.
- There are only female reindeer’s that keep their antlers throughout winter. By the time it is Christmas most of the males have discarded their antlers, and have to save their energy so that they can grow new ones in the spring.
- Over the years the UK Father Christmas and the US Santa Claus have become one of the same.
- There is some that say Santa lives at the North Pole. In Finland, they say that he lives in the North part of the country called Lapland.
- All around the world agrees that he travels through the sky on a sleigh and that he is pulled by reindeer’s and that he comes down the chimney, and places present’s for children either in socks, bags, by the bed, under the Christmas tree or even by the fireplace.
- Most children receive their present’s on Christmas Eve night or early Christmas morning, but some countries celebrate and get there presents on St. Nicholas Eve, December 5th
- Nicholas putting gold into the stocking is probably where the custom of having a satsuma or tangerine at the bottom of a stocking, because some couldn’t afford gold so a golden fruit was a good substitute… Until 50 years ago there were quite unusual fruits that was still so special too.
- The largest stocking was 51 m 35 cm (168ft. 5.65in) in length and 21m 63cm (70ft. 11.57in) in width (heel to toe). It was made by the Volunteer Emergency Service Organisation, in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy, on 5th January 2011. Just imagine how many presents you could fit in a stocking that size.
- Saint Nicholas is patron saint in various cities in Europe and countries around the world of children, students, archers, sailors, merchants, pawnbrokers, brewers, and repentant thieves.
- Coca-Cola commissioned a Michigan born illustrator called Haddon Sundblom to come with an advertising image of Santa Claus that showed Santa himself, not a man who was dressed as Santa. It was Clement Clark Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”).
- William the Conqueror in 1066, before he set sail and began his voyage to England, he prayed to Saint Nicholas asking him for safe passage, and that his quest would go well.
- In 1087, Nicholas’ bones were stolen from Turkey by a few Italian sailors. The bones are now kept in a church that is named after him in Bari.
- Once a year the sailors of Bari take the statue of Saint Nicholas from the cathedral out to sea so that he can bless the ocean, to keep them safe on each voyage they take throughout the year.
Enjoy your Christmas holiday and have a good New Year!!!