Who Was He?
How Did It Get Started?
ISLAM NEWSROOM - "Santa - FAKE? FICTION? Or REAL"
Santa Claus (AKA - also known as - WODEN or ODIN, the Druid god of nature, Father Christmas) According to real history - he was no saint - At least not from what we find in the history books.
Check out the pictures
("A picture is worth 1,000 words")
Saint Nicholas (early Catholic design)
he story and image of the real person that later became known as "Santa Claus" or "Saint Nick" all began with a real person, back in the late 200's (third century) named Nicolas, a man-child born to Greek parents late in the third century (late 200s C.E.) in a village called Patara, in Greece.
Nicholas was raised as a strick and devout Christian. After his parents died he used his inheritance for charity, helping the less fortunate, poor, sick, suffering and needy as much as he could.
Nicholas was promoted from priest to bishop of Myra for his dedicated hard work and charity. He became known for his open handed charity, generosity and help for anyone in need.
He was made the patron saint of Russian and was well known for his simple atire, a flowing red cape, long white beard and his bishop's mitre in his hand.
The image of bishops in general became men with long beards, red suits carrying a mitre or cross, all symbols of holiness, festivity the holiday season - and of course today - big bucks.
aint Nicholas was taken along to the New Word (now America) by the ver first Europeans to venture across the Atlantic and invade the wilderness that was to become the United States.
The Vikings dedicated a cathedral in his memory in Greenland and Christopher Columbus named the Haitian port after him on December the 6th, 1492. However, the Protestants during the Reformation period of the 1500's he was not quite so popular as it was difficult for folks to accept him, considering they did not share very strong views of any saints.
Back in England, where religious folk traditions were being altered right and left, Saint Nicholas was quite well accepted and the Puritan Christians started what is now the more trendy, secular observance of Christians and included him right along with many other innovations.
Odin with his '8 legged' Horse called Sleipner
According to Germanic traditions, the stories of the Norse pagan god - ODIN - contributed largely to the appearance and image of "Santa Nikolas" (Saint Nicholas), Father Christmas and "Santa Claus." for the Germanic holiday, called Yule. Odin would lead a hunt through the sky on his 8 legged horse, Sleipner - (Sound familiar? Clue: How many reindeer fly through the sky pulling Santa's sleigh?) - Answer: 8
The little children put their snow boots filled with straw, carrots or sugar for Santa's horse, Sleipner, and their kindness and good deeds would be rewarded with gifts by the pagan god - Odin.
Odin - pagan god of the Norse
with ravens on his shoulders
- by Tudor Humphries
Sinter Klaas and Zwarte Piet
imilarly, there is also the Dutch Sinterklaas and his assistant Zwarte Piet.
Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace and children would be given treats for their good behavior, while Zwarte Piet would give coal to those who misbehaved.
Dutch colonists brought this tradition with them to the New World (America) in the 17th century, where the Anglican name of Santa Clause emerged.
Saint Nicloas Disciplining a Child Who Misbehaved
St. Nicolas & the Yule Goat
Around the same time as the Dutch celebrations, the Scandinavian countries had their own version of Saint Nicolas - the bringer of gifts. This one came around with a Yule Goat. Within the Nordic folkore, an elf called Tomte or Nisse was also associated with this tradition of Christmas.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
'A Christmas Carol' - by Charles Dickens
The Ghost of Christmas Past Resembles Folklore image of Father Christmas
- (even dressed in the traditional green robe) -
Saint Nicholas and Sinter Klass were combined together with the British version of Father Christmas to become - SANTA CLAUS.
The 17th century (1600's) version appeared weaing a green, fur-lined robe, and he was delivering good cheer to all those around him.
Of course, later merchants would put the twist that Santa was delivering merchandise available in their shops...
Santa Goes Over to the Union Side (politics for St. Nick)
Santa pays a visit to the Union side during the American Civil War
Earliest published image of Santa - January 3, 1883
Harper's Bazar - by Thomas Nast
Thomas Nast of Harper's Bazaar has been credited with creating the popular image of Santa Claus
that appeared in the publication's weekly newspaper between 1863 - 1865. First introduced by
Mr. Nast during the civil war, and ever since, the image of Santa Claus continues to evolve over the years - even now!
Christmas Spread by Harper's (magazine)
- by Thomas Nast
Jolly Old St. Nick in Harper's Bazaar (magazine)
- by Thomas Nast