The origin of Santa Claus
We all know the legend of Santa Claus, that fat man who comes to every home in the world to leave presents for children in his sledge. But, what do we know about his origin?
This character has his origin in Saint Nicolás of Bari, a bishop who lived in the 4th Century in the actual Torquay. He was one of the most famous people in the Middle Ages, and nowadays his relics are kept in The Basilic of Saint Nicolás of Bari, in Italy. The legend says that he loved children, and one day a horrible man killed some children, and the bishop prayed for them and after that the children were saved thanks to him. It is also said that once there was a man who had three daughters, but he didn’t have any money to marry them with men, so they would die alone. For this reason, Saint Nicolás left a bag full of gold in each one of their socks, socks which they used to leave in the fireplace because they were wet.
In 1624, when Dutch found New Amsterdam they brought costumes like their patron, Sinterklaas (whose festivity is celebrated the 5th or 6th of December). In 1809, the writer Washington Irving wrote a satire renaming Sinterklaas in Santa Claus because of the accent. Later, Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem giving form to the ancient legend, showing Santa Claus like an imp who used to bring presents for children in his sledge with his nine reindeer. Later, in 1863, the German drawer Thomas Nast gave Santa Claus his clothes, inspired in old bishops’ clothes and his famous weight.
Next century, in 1902, the book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus gave him his immortality to bring presents to children through history. Finally, and this is the most famous story, in 1931 the enterprise Coca-Cola changed his image by the drawer Habdon Sundblom, but the red and white of his clothes and the relation with the adverts of Coca-Cola are only an urban legend.
Talking about his home, due to the origin of the legend in the Hemisphere North, nowadays everyone accepts that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole.
To conclude, the figure of this man have changed a lot through the history, but the most important factor, especially for children, is that he has always been a polite man who bring presents in Christmas for children, presents that all children are waiting for all year, and that special and magic night any children can’t sleep dreaming about Santa Claus and his sledge surrounding our sky.
By Lucia Yanez Arencibia
Student at CET Services