Who is Santa Claus?

Santa Claus is a fictional character who delivers presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve. The legend of Santa Claus has its origins in Western Christian culture, and is largely based on the historic figure of Saint Nicholas, a real-life Greek bishop who lived during the 4th century and was known for secretly leaving gifts at the homes of children.

According to folklore, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, where he keeps a list of the names of all the children in the world, marking them as ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ depending on their behaviour throughout the year. He brings presents to the homes of good children on Christmas Eve with the help of his elves and the magic flying reindeer who pull his sleigh.

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Who is St. Nicholas: The Real Santa Claus

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends.

It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best-known St. Nicholas stories is the time he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6.

This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland, according to History.

10 Facts about Santa Claus

1. Until the 16th century, Santa Claus and Father Christmas were not synonymous.

2. Santa Claus had his origins in tales of St Nicholas, popular among the Dutch who referred to him as “Sinter Klaas”.

3. Father Christmas had his origins in medieval stories who gave presents at Christmas time.

4. The Dutch still celebrate St Nicholas with their Christmas present-giving on December 6, which is St Nicholas’s feast day.

5. The earliest known use of the name Santa Claus in English was in 1773 in America, as reported by Express Uk.

Top 10 facts about Santa Claus
Santa Claus. Photo: Express.uk

6. The Charles W Howard Santa School, Michigan is the world’s oldest Santa school. It began in 1937.

7. In 2013, Nelson Mandela became the first person to be named Santa Claus of the Year by the prime minister of Greenland.

8. The earliest depictions of Santa Claus have him wearing a green cloak.

9. His modern image, with flying reindeer and entry down chimneys, began with Clement Clarke Moore’s poem A Visit From St Nicholas in 1823.

10. His red cloak only became established in 1931 through a Coca-Cola advertising campaign.

Definition of Santa Claus

Santa Claus is an imaginary man with a long white beard and a red suit who brings presents for children at Christmas

Meaning of Santa Claus

The term Santa Claus comes from the Dutch ‘Sinterklaas’ meaning ‘Saint Nicholas’ and was first used in American English around 1765.

Quotations of Santa Claus

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.” - (Shirley Temple Black)

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