Santa Claus is a household name we are all fairly familiar with. This legendary character holds significance in the Christian religion, but most people from other religions all over the world know who he is.
Santa Claus is very much a part of a child’s first introduction to Christmas. Children from a young age are told about Santa Claus and what he does at Christmas. Santa Claus is also incorporated in Christmas decorations and holds extreme importance.
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We all know who Santa Claus is, how he climbs down the chimney to place gifts under the tree and drink a glass of milk with cookies, but most of us are unaware of the origins of Santa Claus. If you want to know more about him, you have come to the right place.
Santa Claus is best known as the merry guy in red who gives presents to virtuous children on Christmas Eve, but the narrative dates back to around the 3rd century, when Saint Nicholas wandered the world, becoming the patron saint of children.
Santa Claus’ tale may be tracked back centuries to a monk named St. Nicholas. Nicholas was born somewhere around 280 A.D. at Patara, nearby Myra in today’s modern Turkey. St. Nicholas, widely respected for his devotion and charity, became the focus of several tales. He is reported to have given away all of his inheritance money and went around the country assisting the needy and ill.
Around the conclusion of the 18th century, St. Nicholas established his initial forays into American pop culture. A New York publication started in December 1773, then in 1774, that gatherings of Dutch people had come to commemorate the date of his demise. The History of New York, published in 1809 written by Washington Irving, served to promote the Sinter Klaas tales by referring to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York. Sinter Klaas was portrayed as a “rascal” donning a bright blue hat and a red vest to a guy wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a big pair of Flanders trunks stockings as his popularity increased.
Nick’s Dutch title, Sinter Klaas, a shorter version of Sint Nikolaas, inspired Santa Claus. In 1804 at the annual conference of the New York Historical Society, John Pintard presented carvings of St. Nicholas. The engraved backdrop had now-familiar Santa motifs, such as stockings loaded with presents and fruits placed above a fireplace.
Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopalian clergyman, composed “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” most publicly recognized as “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas,” for his daughters in 1822. Moore’s was reluctant to print the poem at first because of the whimsical tone of its topic, but now it is mainly responsible for our contemporary conception of Santa Claus as a “very jolly old elf” with a plump physique and the magical abilities to descend a chimney with a simple movement of his head.Though part of Moore’s vision was likely derived from other materials, his poetry helped establish the now-famous idea of Santa Claus going from household to household on Christmas Eve in “a small sleigh” escorted by 8 flying reindeers to deliver gifts for kids. ‘An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas’ established a new and immensely famous American figure.