ANSWERS: 20
  • I don't know if this is a true story or not but I have read that a long time ago in Europe there was a rich man that lived in this village and his name was Nicholas. At Christmas time he would go around to the poor peoples houses and slip gold coins into the stockings that where hanging over the fireplace to dry. They say this is how the story's of saint Nicholas started that later turned into Santa Clause
  • There was a Saint Nicholas who, according to Catholic tradition, was a patron of children in particular. However, every source where I have read this has gone out of its way to explain that the real Saint Nicholas was not fat, did not have a long white beard, did not wear a red suit, etc. I'm not sure where we got the other stuff that we have come to associate with Santa Claus.
  • The modern Santa Claus is a composite character made up from the merging of two quite separate figures. The first of these is Saint Nicholas of Myra, a bishop of Byzantine Anatolia (now in modern-day Turkey) famous for his generous gifts to the poor. In Europe he is still portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. The second character is Father Christmas, which remains the British name for Santa Claus. Father Christmas dates back at least as far as the 17th century in Britain, and pictures of him survive from that era, portraying him as a well-nourished bearded man dressed in a long, green, fur-lined robe. He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, and was reflected in the 'Spirit of Christmas Present' in Charles Dickens' famous story, A Christmas Carol. When the Dutch still owned the land that later became New York, they brought the Saint Nicholas' eve legend with them to the Americas, but without the red mantle and other symbols. The name Santa Claus is derived from the character's Dutch name, Sinterklaas. In Washington Irving's History of New York, Sinterklaas was Americanized to "Santa Claus" but lost his bishop's apparel, and was at first pictured as a thick bellied Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green winter coat. Irving's book was a lampoon of the Dutch culture of new York, and much of this portrait is his joking invention. Santa Claus appeared in various colored costumes as he gradually became amalgamated with the figure of Father Christmas, but red soon became popular after he appeared wearing such on an 1885 Christmas card. His horse was converted to reindeer and a sleigh, the black peters (which were in fact Moorish slaves) were converted to elves, and, in an attempt to move the origin of the festivities away from their pagan background to a more Christian one, the date was moved forward a few weeks to the celebrated day of the birth of Jesus: Christmas. In the United States, the tradition is to leave Santa a glass of milk and cookies; in Britain, he is given whisky and mince pies instead. British children also leave out a carrot for Rudolph, Santa's reindeer, and are told that if they are not good all year round, that they will receive coal in their stockings. Children following the Dutch custom for sinterklaas will "put out their shoe" — that is, leave hay and a carrot for his horse in a shoe before going to bed — sometimes weeks before the sinterklaas avond. The next morning they will find the hay and carrot replaced by a gift; often, this is a marchpane figurine. Naughty children were once told that they would be left a roe (a bundle of sticks) instead of sweets, but this practice has been discontinued. Many postal services allow children to send letters to Santa Claus pleading their good behaviour and requesting gifts; these letters may be answered by postal workers or other volunteers. (Canada Post has a special postal code for letters to Santa Claus: H0H 0H0.) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been immortalized in a Gene Autrey song, written by a Montgomery-Ward copywriter, which is frequently played at Christmas. As such, he is typically included as the sleigh's lead reindeer. The names of all the other reindeer were invented in the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (better known today as The Night Before Christmas) ascribed to Clement Clarke Moore, although there is some question as to his authorship. It is suspected that the names Donner and Blitzen come from the German phrase Donner und Blitz which means Thunder and Lightning. An alternative explanation is that Donder is the original name of the seventh reindeer, as Donder en bliksem is Dutch for Thunder and Lightning. The reindeer are traditionally pictured with antlers, although male reindeer shed their antlers in the winter. (Female reindeer keep their antlers until spring.) Many Christian churches dislike the secular focus on Santa and the materialist focus that present-giving gives to the holiday. They would prefer that focus be given to the birth of Jesus, their nominal reason for the Christmas celebration. It should be noted that the festivities at this time of year are predated by the Roman Saturnalia and Yule festivals which were subsumed within Christianity. It should also be noted that the date of Jesus' birth is not known. The connection between Saturnalia and Jesus' birth was a clerical decision in order to introduce a religious element into the more carnal festivities that the Christian laity were indulging in during winter solstice. As an example of the still surviving pagan imagery, in Nordic countries there is the Yule goat (Swedish julbock), a somewhat startling figure with horns which however will deliver the presents in Christmas eve, and a straw goat is a common Christmas decoration. Historically, one of the first artists to capture Santa Claus' image as we know him today was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century. In 1862, a picture of Santa illustrated by Nast appeared in Harper's Weekly. It is believed the inspiration for his image came from a mythical German character called Pelznickel (Furry Nicholas) who visited naughty children in their sleep. The book A History of Santa Claus was written by L. Frank Baum, the same man who wrote the Wizard of Oz. In Scandinavia, the Tomte is closely associated with Christmas, kindness and generosity. This blend of Nicholas of Myra and North European folklore helped popularize the design of Santa. (Urban legend has it that Santa Claus in his current guise was in fact created by Coca-Cola, though this is highly unlikely.) To this day, Santa Claus still appears on Coca-Cola products each year around Christmastime. The depiction of Santa at the North Pole also reflected popular opinion about industry. In some images of the early 1900s, Santa was depicted as personally making his toys by hand in a small workshop like a craftsman. Eventually, the idea emerged that he had numerous elves responsible for making the toys, but the toys were still handmade by each individual elf working in the traditional manner. By the end of the century, the reality of mass mechanized production became more fully accepted by the Western public. That shift was reflected in the modern depiction of Santa's residence—now often humorously portrayed as a fully mechanized production facility, equipped with the latest manufacturing technology, and overseen by the elves with Santa and Mrs. Claus as managers. Many TV commercials depict this as a sort of humorous business, with Santa's elves acting as a sometimes michieviously disgruntled workforce, cracking jokes and pulling pranks on their boss.
  • One of the best pages I've seen on the origin of Santa is one suggesting he's identical to Satan. They do make some excellent points about the similarities between Santa and the Norse mythological deities Thor and Odin though. http://av1611.org/othpubls/santa.html from the site: ======================================================================================================== Nearly all Santa researchers agree that some traits of Santa was borrowed from Norse [Scandinavian] mythology. Encyclopedia Britannica describes the role of Nordic mythology in the life of Santa: Sinterklaas was adopted by the country's English-speaking majority under the name Santa Claus, and his legend of a kindly old man was united with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished naughty children and rewarded good children with presents. ("Santa Claus" Encyclopaedia Britannica 99) Some Santa researchers associate Santa with the Norse "god" of Odin or Woden. Crichton describes Odin as riding through the sky on an eight-legged, white horse name Sleipnir. (Santa originally had eight reindeers, Rudolph was nine). Odin lived in Valhalla (the North) and had a long white beard. Odin would fly through the sky during the winter solstice (December 21-25) rewarding the good children and punishing the naughty. (Crichton, Robin. Who is Santa Claus? The Truth Behind a Living Legend. Bath: The Bath Press, 1987, pp. 55-56) Mythologist Helene Adeline Guerber presents a very convincing case tracing Santa to the Norse god Thor in Myths of Northern Lands: Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people. He was represented as an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was the fire, his color red. The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horseback but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god. He was said to live in the "Northland" where he had his palace among icebergs. By our pagan forefathers he was considered as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming the humans but rather helping and protecting them. The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire. (Guerber, H.A. Myths of Northern Lands. New York: American Book Company, 1895, p. 61) The unusual and common characteristics of Santa and Thor are too close to ignore. -An elderly man, jovial and friendly and of heavy build. -With a long white beard. -His element was the fire and his color red. -Drove a chariot drawn by two white goats, named called Cracker and Gnasher. -He was the Yule-god. (Yule is Christmas time). -He lived in the Northland (North Pole). -He was considered the cheerful and friendly god. -He was benevolent to humans. -The fireplace was especially sacred to him. -He came down through the chimney into his element, the fire. Even today in Sweden, Thor represents Santa Claus. The book, The Story of the Christmas Symbols, records: Swedish children wait eagerly for Jultomten, a gnome whose sleigh is drawn by the Julbocker, the goats of the thunder god Thor. With his red suit and cap, and a bulging sack on his back, he looks much like the American Santa Claus. (Barth, Edna. Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights, The Story of the Christmas Symbols. New York: Clarion Books, 1971, p. 49) Thor was probably history’s most celebrated and worshipped pagan god. His widespread influence is particularly obvious in the fifth day of the week, which is named after him – Thursday (a.k.a. Thor’s Day). It is ironic that Thor’s symbol was a hammer. A hammer is also the symbolic tool of the carpenter – Santa Claus. It is also worth mentioning that Thor’s helpers were elves and like Santa’s elves, Thor’s elves were skilled craftsman. It was the elves who created Thor’s magic hammer. In the Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, author Francis Weiser traces the origin of Santa to Thor: "Behind the name Santa Claus actually stands the figure of the pagan Germanic god Thor." (Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952, p. 113) After listing some the common attributes of Thor and Santa, Weiser concludes: Here, [Thor] then, is the true origin of our "Santa Claus." . . . With the Christian saint whose name he still bears, however, this Santa Claus has really nothing to do. (Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952, p. 114) Another interesting trait of Thor is recorded by H.R. Ellis Davidson in Scandinavian Mythology, "It was Thor who in the last days of heathenism was regarded as the chief antagonist of Christ." (Davidson, H.R. Ellis. Scandinavian Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1982, p. 133) In case you are not aware, an "antagonist" is an enemy, adversary or replacement. ======================================================================================================== It also has a lot on St. Nicholas including the following: ======================================================================================================== The oft-repeated tale of Santa Claus goes like this: According to the legend, Santa began as a fourth century Catholic bishop named Saint Nicholas. The cult of St. Nicholas was one of histories most widespread religious movements. According to St. Nicholas historian, Charles W. Jones, ". . . the cult of St. Nicholas was, before the Reformation, the most intensive of any nonbiblical saint in Christendom. . . there were 2,137 ecclesiastical dedications [churches] to Nicholas in France, Germany, and the Low Countries alone before the year 1500." (Jones, Charles. W. "Knickerbocker Santa Claus." The New-York Historical Society Quarterly, October 1954, Volume XXXVIII Number Four, p.357) The popular book, The Christmas Almanack, states, "By the height of the Middle Ages, St. Nicholas was probably invoked in prayer more than any other figure except the Virgin Mary and Christ Himself" (Del Re, Gerard and Patricia. The Christmas Almanack. New York: Random House, 2004, p. 131) Miraculous folklore and legend surround the mysterious St. Nicholas. Among the more popular legends of St. Nicholas is the rescue of three poverty-stricken girls destined for prostitution. These girls were poor and did not have the dowry for marriage. St. Nicholas saved them from a life of shame, by providing marriage dowries of gold. They then were able to get properly married. Another amazing miracle in the life of St. Nicholas is the three young boys who were sadistically murdered by a wicked innkeeper. Their bodies were chopped up and preserved in pickle barrels, with the cannibalistic intent of feeding their flesh to unsuspecting house guests. Of course, the amazing St. Nicholas resurrected the boys and their mutilated bodies. And like Santa, Saint Nicholas gave gifts to poor children, hence, his veneration as Patron Saint of Children. During the Middle Ages, hundreds of plays and paintings told and re-told the amazing feats of St. Nicholas. Next, according to legend, Santa magically appears in the Netherlands around the seventeenth century. During this time, Sinter Klaas (a.k.a. Santa Claus) was officially born. Dutch children began the tradition of placing their shoes by the fireplace on December 5, for the mystic fourth century Bishop, Saint Nicholas. (Note: In the Dutch language Saint Nicholas is "Sint Nikolass," which was shortened to "Sinter Klaas," of which the anglicized form is "Santa Claus.") The next morning, the gleeful Dutch children quickly awoke to gifts and goodies in their shoes, left by Sinter Klaas. Like today’s Santa, Sinter Klaas, miraculously, traveled from housetop to housetop, and entered through the chimney. Our next stop on the Santa highway is the year 1626 in the New World called America. Searching for the "American dream," Dutch settlers sailed from the Netherlands and established the Dutch colony called New Amsterdam (today called New York). The Dutch colonists quickly settled into America, bringing their customs, and of course, their beloved Sinter Klaas. In December 1809, American essayist Washington Irving published a popular satire of the Dutch founding of New York titled A Knickerbocker History of New York. More than any other event, it was Irving’s Knickerbocker History that is credited for creating our modern day Santa Claus. The following history-making words from The Knickerbocker History became the public inauguration of Santa Claus. Who could have possibly imagined the significance these simple words would soon have? And the sage Oloffe dreamed a dream,–and lo, the good St. Nicholas came riding over the tops of the trees, in that self-same wagon wherein he brings his yearly presents to the children. . . And when St. Nicholas had smoked his pipe, he twisted it in his hatband, and laying his finger beside his nose, gave the astonished Van Kortlandt a very significant look; then, mounting his wagon, he returned over the treetops and disappeared. (Irving, Washington. Knickerbocker’s History of New York, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1928, p. 50) At this early period was instituted that pious ceremony, still religiously observed in all our ancient families of the right breed, of hanging up a stocking in the chimney on St. Nicholas Eve; which stocking is always found in the morning miraculously filled; for the good St. Nicholas has ever been a great giver of gifts, particularly to children. (Irving, Washington. Knickerbocker’s History of New York, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1928, p. 68) Next stop on our investigative journey for Santa, surprisingly, comes from the pen of a New York theology professor named Dr. Clement Clarke Moore. In 1822, inspired by Irving’s popular, Knickerbocker History’s portrayal of jolly St. Nicholas, Dr. Moore quietly wrote a trivial poem titled, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" for his own children as a simple Christmas present. Dr. Moore had no intention of publishing his poem, but in 1823 it was published anonymously, by a friend, in the Troy Sentinel. Moore’s extremely popular poem was the spark that lit the Santa Claus wildfire. Santa quickly began flying through America. Dr. Moore’s poem was later renamed the famous, "Twas’ The Night Before Christmas." The finishing touches for Santa occurred around 1863 from the artistic hands of cartoonist Thomas Nast. Inspired by Moore’s popular poem, Nast illustrated scores of Santa pictures in Harper’s Weekly and the world was officially baptized with the face of Santa Claus. Nast’s early Santa was burly, stern, gnome-like, and covered with drab fur, much unlike today’s colorful and jolly fellow. But make no mistake – it was Santa. ======================================================================================================== At any rate, there's a TON of other information but those are the 2 big parts I'd like to point out, there must be 20 times as much information in the rest of the article, so happy reading :)
  • The first Santa Claus was in the 4th century. Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (an area in present-day Turkey) was a generous man and was particularly devoted to children. He died in 340 A.D. and was buried in Myra. Italian sailors stole the body in 1087 and moved them to Bari, Italy. There, Nicholas' reputation for kindness and generosity grew into claims of miracles, and people devoted their lives to him. He became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishop's mitre. In Greece, he was the patron saint of sailors. In France, he was the patron saint of lawyers. In Belgium, he was the patron saint of children and travelers. Thousands of churches were dedicated to him, and around the 12th century, a church holiday was created in his honor. The Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated on December 6th and the day was marked by gift-giving and charity.
  • Origin of Santa Claus: There are two main, incompatible belief systems about St. Nicholas: Among Roman Catholics and conservative Protestants, there is a near universal belief that St. Nicholas of Bari once lived in Asia Minor, and died in either 345 or 352 CE. The Catholic Information Network speculates that he was probably born in Patara in the province of Myra in Asia Minor; this is apparently based on the belief that he later became bishop of Myra in Lycia (now Turkey). 8. He is alleged to have attended the first council of Nicea; however, his name does not appear on lists of attending bishops. He is honored as a Patron Saint in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Sicily, and Switzerland. 2 He is also considered the patron saint of children and sailors. Many legends and miracles are attributed to him: When he was an infant, his mother only nursed him on Wednesdays and Fridays; he fasted the remaining days. He halted a storm at sea in order to save three drowning sailors. During his lifetime, he adored children and often threw gifts anonymously into the windows of their homes. His father left him a fortune which he used to help poor children. He grabbed the sword of an executioner to save the life of a political prisoner. He brought back to life several children who had been killed. Some religious historians and experts in folklore believe that there is no valid evidence to indicate that St. Nicholas ever existed as a human. In fact, there are quite a few indicators that his life story was simply recycled from those of Pagan gods. Many other ancient Pagan gods and goddesses were similarly Christianized in the early centuries of the Church. His legends seems to have been mainly created out of myths attributed to the Greek God Poseidon, the Roman God Neptune, and the Teutonic God Hold Nickar. "In the popular imagination [of many Russians] he became the heir of Mikoula, the god of harvest, 'who will replace God, when God becomes too old.' " 8 When the church created the persona of St. Nicholas, they adopted Poseidon's title "the Sailor." They seem to have picked up his last name from Nickar. Various temples of Poseidon became shrines of St. Nicholas. 1 "In medieval England... in tiny sea ports we find the typical little chapel built on an eminence and looking out to sea." 8 St. Nicholas also adopted some of the qualities of "The Grandmother" or Befana from Italy. She was said to have filled children's stockings with gifts. Her shrine at Bari was also converted into a shrine to St. Nicholas. The Christian church created a fictional life history for St. Nicholas. He was given the name Hagios Nikolaos (a.k.a. St. Nicholas of Myra). 10th century: The Christian author Metaphrastes collected and wrote many traditional legends about St. Nicholas. 11th century: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that during the Muslim invasion of Asia Minor, his remains were transferred to Bari in Italy, where he became known as Nicholas of Bari. 19th century: St. Nicholas was superseded in much of Europe by Christkindlein, the Christ child, who delivered gifts in secret to the children. He traveled with a dwarf-like helper called Pelznickel (a.k.a. Belsnickle) or with St. Nicholas-like figures. Eventually, all three were combined into the image that we now know as Santa Claus. "Christkindlein" became Kriss Kringle. Before the communist revolution, large numbers of Russian Orthodox pilgrims came to Bari to visit St Nicholas' tomb. "He and St Andrew the apostle are the patrons of Russia." 8 Present day: Throughout many countries in Europe, St. Nicholas/Santa distributes gifts to the children on DEC-5, the eve of his feast day. In some countries, the gifts come at another time during Advent or on Christmas eve. In Germany, Weinachtsmann (Christmas man) is a helper of the Christkind (Christ Child) In France, Père Noël distributes the gifts. In Russia, under the influence of communism, St. Nicolas evolved into the secular Father Frost. He distributes toys to children on New Year's Eve. 3 In England, Father Christmas delivers the presents. He is shown with holly, ivy or mistletoe. In Scandinavian countries, the ancient Pagan Yule goat has transmuted into Joulupukki - similar to the American Santa. In North America, Santa Claus rules, thanks to a certain brand of soda. According to Roman Catholic church, his body is said to have not decomposed. In his shrine in Bari, Italy, it is believed by many pilgrims to exude a sweet smelling odor which cures medical disorders and illnesses. http://www.religioustolerance.org/santa1.htm
  • google it
  • No one did. It's just an excuse so children don't pester their parents.
  • Invented Santa? are you nuts Santa is and has always been. Who could invent a man that is 200lbs overweight works one night a year and can circumnavigate the world with stop offs in every country in 24 hours. Making everyone happy in the process IMPOSSIBLE
  • Santa Claus has evolved out of a number of various stories and myths originating from the Nordic and Germanic cultures over hundreds of years. He really has multiple roots that all have similar traits: dead of winter, gifts that bring joy to children or the needy, mysterious and unknown man doing it without any apparent desire to receive credit.
  • Santa is actually Saint Nicholas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas
  • Santa was created to make more money.
  • Well for a lot of teenage girls, it's turned into St. Nick, Kevin, and Joe!
  • Was it Turkey?
  • The story's roots begin in Northern Europe where the Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated on the 6th of December. St. Nicholas was an actual person who lived in Asia Minor during the fourth century. He was famous for furnishing the doweries of three Italian ladies. The symbol of three coins was later used by bankers and pawnbrokers. Northern Europeans adopted the gift giving idea for children using Saint Nicholas as the bearer of gifts. In the New World, the Dutch brought the Feast of St. Nicholas to New Amsterdam (New York)and celebrated the saint and changed his appearance to chubby red robed white bearded jolly gift giver. Dr. Clement C. Moore later would write the poem, "A visit from St. Nicholas" The first appearance of St. Nick as Santa Claus with reindeer was during the Civil War by cartoonist Thomas Nast, a German Immigrant to US.
  • Coca Cola. I think.
  • My great grandmother told me St.Nicholas is the patron saint of children. He brings gifts to good children who have been faithful, chaitable, and prayerful. He gives gifts in this life to remind us of the gift of salvation we recieve. He wears red to remind us of the blood Christ has shed for us. He is accompanied by Black Peter, a demon in chains. Black Peter is a demonic equivelent of St. Peter, to whom Christ gave the keys to the kingdom and entrusted to build his church. Saint Nick cannot warn bad children because it is the job of parents and the church. He impresses Black Peter to give out coal or switches to the bad children as a warning to children who are ungrateful, petty, and do not pray. It is said Black Peter escapes from hell on All Souls Day, and with his magic box he sucks the souls out of bad children, who have been warned, leaving only a shell without a soul. He directs these ghouls to do evil in the world, the devil's work. If you get switches or a lump of coal, shape up.
  • Santa Claus is an anagram of SATAN LUCAS
  • No one knows anything( except anagrams)? thats surprising
  • Well, there was this guy who had a thing about wearing red and handing out gifts. He wasn't all there, but we decided to humour him and it sort of snowballed.

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