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What is the origin of Santa Claus?

When we think of Christmas, the image of Santa Claus is omnipresent. But do we really know the story behind this old bearded man handing out presents? To the inevitable question "Who is Santa Claus, and where does he come from?", what is your answer? Every time our children ask a question, we have the opportunity to educate them. In this article, learn about the origin of Santa Claus, how his meaning has evolved over time, and some of the Christmas traditions associated with him!

The story of the real Santa Claus

The true story of Santa Claus begins with St. Nicholas, who was born in the village of Patara, Greece in 270 - 343 AD, which is now part of Turkey. When he was a boy, his parents were rich, but they died of an epidemic when he was young. As he grew up, he used all of his inheritance to help the poor and sick in need.

One story of Nicholas even reports that he gave a dowry to three destitute girls so that they would not be forced into prostitution.

As an adult, Nicholas also became bishop of Myra in Lycia, a province in Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey, where, according to legend, he performed only good deeds.

One of the acts later associated with the man (as Santa Claus or gift-giver) occurred when he saved a family from poverty one night by throwing money out of their window. But he claimed to be capable of much more than that. He could apparently, by the power of God, bring the dead back to life and save sailors from storms. Nicholas of Myra was therefore beatified and, at first, he was especially glorified by the sailors.

At first, Nicholas became a Catholic saint, but he was later "abandoned" by the Protestants. However, it was hard to drop St. Nicholas because of his fame, so he was represented as a bishop's miter. Coincidentally, since Nicholas died in December, it was easy to associate him, as Santa Claus, with the distribution of gifts.

His story was then spread by Dutch sailors who landed in New York. They called St. Nicholas "Sinterklaas" and, through translations into American English, he became the present "Santa Claus". This is how the man became known as "Santa Claus" in Europe and later in the United States.

However, the history of Santa Claus and his origin is not the same in every country. He is not even called that in every nation. For example, in Greece, the Americanized name "Santa" (Santa Claus), simply does not exist. Yes, little children still wait for their beloved Agios Vasilis (St. Basil) to come and bring them presents on New Year's Day and not on December 25 as it is in our country!

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