The very mention of Christmas brings to the mind the image of image
of the jolly old man flying in a sleigh pulled by reindeers and leaving
toys and gifts for every child.
On the Christmas Eve millions of children throughout the world
will be tucked in their beds while "visions of sugarplums dance
in their heads." When they awake they will check their stockings
to see if Santa Claus, the most beloved of Christmas symbols, has
come to shower all the gifts and toys to make their Christmas something
Santa Claus has existed in many forms for many centuries. The history
of Santa Claus traces its origin in the 3rd century AD when he was
associated with a man called Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra
in Asia Minor, present day in Turkey. Legend has it that Saint Nicholas
was famous for his charity and wisdom.
Pictures of a plump and kindly Santa Claus were first drawn by
cartoonist Thomas Nast in the 1860s. From then this image of Santa
Claus has become ingrained in the minds of the people throughout
Story of Santa Claus
During the 3rd century AD, Nicholas was born to a wealthy Christian
family in Patara, a place near Myra in present-day Turkey. Generous
and pious he was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who
came his way. Very soon his good deeds were the talk of the town
and many legends associated with him became popular. He became subject
of many folktales and mythical fantasies. He later became the Bishop
of Myra. As he was born to a wealthy family he had inherited a large
property. He used to help the destitute, poor and the sick. At night
he used to travel anonymously to find out if any of his parishioners
are in need of help. During one such visit, he heard a family mourning
over their misfortunes and poverty and how they were forced to sell
the three poor sisters into slavery because their father was not
able to offer a suitable dowry to them. Such was the pitiable condition
of the family that they did not have even the basic necessities
such as food and clothes.
In order to extricate the family from ignominy, Nicholas threw
three purses of gold secretly into their home from the chimney at
that very night. In the course of time his popularity became to
increase and he became well known as the protector and the patron
saint of children and sailors. His death anniversary is celebrated
on 6th of December every year. The day is considered lucky to get
married or buy things. His popularity kept on growing and by the
Renaissance, he was counted as the most popular European saint,
especially in Holland.
The popularity of St Nicholas reached the shores of America by
the 18th century with the Dutch families, who knew him as 'Sinter
Klaas', which later got transformed to 'Santa Claus'
Santa Claus, one of the most famous characters in the world, is
also known as Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kriss
Kringle, Santy or simply Santa.
Santa Claus is believed to live at North Pole or Lapland in Finland
along with his wife, Mrs. Claus, his team of elves and reindeers.
They keep a record of all good children all over the world and give
them the requested gifts on Christian Eve.