Santa Claus… Kris Kringle…Old Saint Nick…
Who is this guy and why does he have so many aliases?
Well, the original St. Nicholas lived in southwestern Turkey in the 4th century.
As the bishop of Myra he was credited with doing a number of miracles involving sailors and children.
St. Nicholas was a Christian priest, who later became a bishop. He was a rich person, and traveled the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents.
St. Nicholas did not like to be seen when he gave away presents, so the children of the day were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come!
Nothing has changed and Santa Claus will not arrive this Christmas unless the children go to sleep early.
Over the centuries, St. Nicholas’ popularity grew, and many people in Europe made up new stories that showed his concern for children.
The name Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch Sinter Klass pronunciation of St. Nicholas.
Early Dutch settlers in New York (once called New Amsterdam) brought their traditions of St Nicholas.
As children from other countries tried to pronounce Sinter Klass, this soon became Santa Klass, which was settled as Santa Claus.
The old bishop’s cloak with mitre, jewelled gloves and crozier were soon replaced with his red suit and clothing seen in other modern images.
What began as a Dutch tradition originating from the religious-oriented celebration of Saint Nicholas Eve ultimately became transformed into an American secular holiday.
Today’s children probably owe the early Dutch Americans a great deal of gratitude for bringing the forefather of Santa Claus with them.
Without the Dutch childrens “visions of sugar plums”, today’s young Americans might not find an Xbox or Wii on Christmas day.
History pics to Santa Claus and Ded Moroz :