Besides those stories about an affectionate saint bringing cool Christmas gifts and blessings to homes of well-behaved children on the Holy Eve, Santa Claus is a well known legend with loads of historical myths associated to his name. Here are a few.
- Santa Claus was originally born to the city of Patara near present day Turkey dating back around 280 A.D. St. Nicholas was his original name, and he was also called saint Nick, father Christmas, kris Kingle, or simply santa. The name santa Claus originates from “Sinter Klaas”, which used to be saint Nick’s Dutch name.
- Saint Nicholas was well known for being a kind and noble soul, giving away all his property in the service of the poor and needy. One of his most popular legends being giving away dowry for the marriage of 3 sisters who were about to be sold to slavery or prostitution.
- He still is popularly known as the protector of children and his feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, the 6th of December all over Europe. It is still considered lucky to buy things or build a business on that date.
- During early 19th century, Santa was popularised in New York by John Pintard, who distributed wood cut figures amongst people in a meeting and Washington Irving who mentioned him in his book, “the history of New york”.
- In the late 19th century, the salvation army sent unemployed men to collect donations for the meals of needy and poor by dressing up as santa Claus. Ever since then, they have been sending Santas ringing bells into all the street corners of American cities.
- Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, “An account of a visit from St. Nicholas” gave the initial image of Santa claus as a rotund elf with a horse sleigh.
- Artist and cartoonist Thomas nast actually drew out in Moore’s poem for the Harper’s weekly magazine the original present day fur lined red costume Santa claus carrying his huge sack of Christmas gifts in his mini sleigh led by 8 flying reindeers and his North pole workshop.
- Another popular “Santa-like” figure kris kingle Or Christkind, used to accompany Santa on his holiday missions as per old legends. There also have been various regional versions of saints giving gifts like, Jultomten of Scandinavia, Pere Noel of France, Babouschka of Russia, Le Befana of Italy and lots more.