Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus
The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 3rd or 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children.
1873 St Nicholas arriving on His Horse Through The Snow.
After his death around 340 A.D., he was buried in Myra, but in 1087 Italian sailors purportedly stole his remains and removed them to Bari, Italy, greatly increasing St. Nicholas’ popularity throughout Europe.
His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishop’s mitre.
St. Nicholas Carrying A Tree and Wearing A White Robe.
St. Nicholas Carrying A Sack Of Toys and a Tree.
In Greece, he is the patron saint of sailors.
In France, the patron of lawyers.
In Belgium, the patron of children and travellers.
St. Nicholas Blessing Ships. suzilove.com
Thousands of churches across Europe were dedicated to him and some time around the 12th century an official church holiday was created in his honor. The Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated December 6 and the day was marked by gift-giving and charity.
After the Reformation, European followers of St. Nicholas dwindled, but the legend was kept alive in Holland where the Dutch spelling of his name Sint Nikolaas was eventually transformed to Sinterklaas, and then Santa Claus.
Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace, and Sinterklaas would reward good children. hence Santa Claus bringing gifts to children who have been good.
St. Nicholas Bringing Gifts.
St. Nicholas Icon with Brass Oklad.
Why we celebrate St. Nicholas.
via St Nicholas Centre.
St. Nicholas Gives Gold to Father of Three Maidens.
Nicholas, born in 3rd Century Turkey.
To read more about Christmas Customs and Traditions,
take a look at my non-fiction book,
History of Christmases Past by Suzi Love