๐ŸŽ…The History of Santa Claus๐ŸŽ…


Santa Claus has long been one of the most
enduring figures of the Christmas season, but where did this jolly old character come
from? One of the earliest traditions in which a
form of Santa Claus can be seen is an ancient German custom involving a mythical being named
Odin. It was believed that on the Winter Solstice
(December 21st), Odin would fly through the night sky and determine who would prosper
and who would fail in the coming year. Another basis for the legend comes from the
stories of Saint Nicholas, a well-known and popular saint from the 300s. Amongst the many stories attributed to Saint
Nicholas is one legend in which he donated large sums of money to a poor family. When they refused his help, he tossed the
money down their chimney so that they might find it the next morning (this gave us the
origin of Santa’s means of entering a home). However, the largest portion of the Santa
Claus legend was given to us by Dutch tales of Sinterklaas (pronounced Sin-ter Klows). Sinterklaas is also based on the stories of
Saint Nicholas, and Sinterklass traditionally visits Dutch children on December 6th (St.
Nicholas Day). The character of Sinterklaas arrives on a
boat from Spain. He wears a red bishop’s robe and is usually
depicted as having a long, white beard. Children leave their boots next to the fire
in hopes that Sinterklaas will leave presents, or possibly fruit in them. When Dutch settlers came to the area that
is today New York, they brought the traditions of Sinterklaas with them. The name eventually became Americanized into
Santa Claus. In the 1820s, Santa gained some more of his
modern characteristics. Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “Twas the
Night Before Christmas” provided a physical description which we use as the basis for
our modern interpretation. Also, the notion of Santa’s team of flying
reindeer and his home at the North Pole can be traced to the 1820s. In the 1860s, an artist named Thomas Nast
drew what became the definitive image of Santa Claus. These drawings were based on the description
given in “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” This image was reinforced throughout the 20th
Century through paintings, advertisements, films, and television programs. In 1902, a children’s book called The Life
and Adventures of Santa Claus further popularized the character of Santa Claus and his magic
elves in American culture. Today, Santa Claus is firmly in place as one
of the most iconic symbols of the Christmas tradition. He is recognized in virtually every culture,
and each and every year, children around the world eagerly anticipate his arrival.

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