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Santa Claus: The History of the Original "St. Nicholas"

Image of Santa Claus

On Christmas Eve night, there is one uncle that children are waiting for.

Yes, that is Santa Claus!

Santa Claus gives gifts and dreams to children, but did you know that he actually has a model?

Let us introduce you to Nikolaos, the model for Santa Claus.

Who is Nikolaos anyway?

Nikolaos was a Christian bishop and theologian.

The expression "Nikolaos" is the Greek name for him; in English he is called Nicholas.

His official name in the Orthodox Church is "St. Nicholas the Miraculous, Archbishop of Mira Lycia", and he is revered by many people.

At the recommendation of his uncle Nikolaos (apparently he had the same name as his uncle), who was a bishop, he was involved in the church from his childhood.

And Nikolaos, who became the model for Santa Claus, left behind various legends.

About the Legend of Nikolaos

First of all, there is an anecdote that Nikolaos brought back to life a sailor who fell off a ship and died on his way to Jerusalem, the holy city.

If this were true, it would be a miracle.

Nikolaos, who was even more diligent, rose to the rank of archbishop and served the people more and more diligently.

However, Nikolaos was in a great crisis.

It was the persecution of Christianity by the emperors Diocletian and Galerius.

Nikolaos did not fear this persecution and was captured for his evangelism.

Even while in prison, Nikolaos was with his captors, encouraging them.

He was a true saint.

After the accession of Constantine the Great to the throne, the persecution stopped and Nikolaos was safely reinstated as archbishop, but he continued to save the falsely accused and continue to be a source of faith for the people.

Origin of Santa Claus

Why is Nicolaus said to be the model for Santa Claus?

Here is one famous legend.

It is a story from when Nikolaus was a priest before he became an archbishop.

One day Nikolaus learned of a merchant who had lost his fortune and became so poor that he had to prostitute his three daughters.

Santa Clause image

We cannot continue to let his daughters be prostituted. What can we do?

Thinking this, Nicolaus secretly threw a large sum of money through the window (or chimney, as it is said) of the merchant's house in the middle of the night.

Not once, but twice, Nicolaus did it.

The father of the daughters was very happy because the money saved his daughters from having to sell themselves.

And the father thought,

Father image

Who in the world is giving us money? Let's take a look.

Then he spotted Nikolaos, who was about to throw in the money for the third time in the middle of the night.

Father image

It was you! Master Nikolaus! Thank you so much!

The father prostrated himself at Nikolaus' feet and thanked him with tears in his eyes.

Legend has it that when Nicolaus threw a gold coin through the window, it fell into a sock hanging over the fireplace.

Thus began the tradition of Santa Claus entering a house in the middle of the night at Christmas time and putting presents in a sock.

Differences in the World of Santa Claus

It seems that there are various types of Santa Claus around the world.

For example, in the Netherlands, Christmas is celebrated twice in one season,

  • The day before "St. Nicholas Day" on December 6
  • Christmas on the 25th

It seems that there are two times that you can get a present like this.

Also, in Australia, which is located in the southern hemisphere, Christmas comes in the summer.

Therefore, it is said that Santa Claus does not come by sleigh with his reindeer, but comes to Australia while surfing on a surfboard.

To learn more about Santa Claus' arrival on Christmas Day,

Please read this article as well.

Santa Claus spreads around the world in many different ways, but let's not forget that his origins began with a clergyman who cared for people.