Know How The Tradition Of Santa Claus Started
Each year on Christmas, kids write letters to Santa, asking for gifts. We all hope that a fat, white-bearded man with a red cap and suit would drop exciting presents for us down the chimney or in the sock hanging on the Christmas tree. But who is Santa Claus exactly? How did this concept of a happy man going around distributing gifts come into existence?
This Christmas, revise your History and increase your knowledge to know a little more about why we do what we do each year on the 25th of December. Know how the tradition of Santa Claus started, and what message Santa tries to spread each year.
1. Is Santa real?
Well, the answer is Yes and No both. ‘Santa Claus’ is actually a name that was given to St. Nicholas over a period of time. The original St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra in the 4th century, and was known to be a generous person, helping people anonymously. After his death, stories of his generosity spread all over the world, and he started being referred to as ‘Sinter Klass’ in Holland, which changed to ‘Sancte Claus’ in United States. And gradually, people started calling him ‘Santa Claus’
2. So why does he leave gifts?
John Pintard (founder of the New York Historical Society) was deeply interested in the stories of St. Nicholas, and when the society hosted its first St. Nicholas anniversary party in 1810, Alexander Anderson was commissioned to draw a portrait of the saint. Even though St. Nicholas was depicted as a religious figure in this image, he was seen putting gifts in children’s stockings hanging by the fireplace. This was to denote how St. Nicholas anonymously helped people when he lived.
3. How did Santa get his sleigh?
Clement Moore, in 1822 added some more elements from German and Norse legends to what Pintard had already established. He made Santa have a somewhat Elf like appearance. He also added the concept of Santa owning a sleigh, drawn by eight reindeers, who would fly him from house to house to drop gifts down the chimneys of the houses, into the stockings hanging by the fireplace. The concept of reindeers came to Moore’s imagination keeping in mind that Scandinavian people and those in Finland used reindeers to pull their sledges.