It’s time now for “Jingle Bells…Santa Claus is coming to town”!!! So many children and elders alike will be waiting for their gifts and also for their chance to make their dear ones happy. Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus Christ and the happiness that this event spread in the world. So who then is Santa Claus and why is he everyone’s beloved in the season of cheer? What’s his story? Why are carols sung in his name? Let’s find out!
Santa Claus as we know him has undergone many evolutions and his story dates back originally to the 3rd century. He is known by many other names like Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Santy or Kris Kringle, but the name Santa Claus is an adaptation from the Dutch name Sinterklaas, the short form for St. Nicholas in English. He is depicted as a pot-bellied, long-bearded jolly man who is dressed in red from head to toe, his sleeves and pants are lined with white fur, he wears a black belt and boots and carries a bag full of gifts for good children.
Saint Nicholas was believed to be born to wealthy Christian parents in the city of Patara, near Myra in today’s Turkey. His parents had long prayed for a child and were devout believers. Sadly, when St. Nicholas was still young, his parents are said to have died, leaving him a fortune in inheritance. For the child, this event brought him closer to God and made him sensitive to suffering. He was generous and gave help to people who needed it in the form of money and gifts, though he never took credit for the same. There is a story that is popular of how St. Nicholas gave gold to a father of three daughters who was forced to send them into slavery as he couldn’t afford to get them married for the lack of dowry. The father caught him doing this secretively and spread the word around town making his generosity well-known. This fame made him the Archbishop or Myra.
St. Nicholas day is still observed in many countries on the 6th of December which was the day he died. In America, this day’s celebrations are celebrated with the Christmas cheer. St. Nicholas started drawing more attention in the next few years instead of the Christ birth during Christmas due to which people started separating the importance of Christ birth from the gift-giver St.Nicholas, who later came to be known also as Father Christmas, and over time to be Santa Claus as we know him today.
The image that we know of Santa is one that has evolved over time and hence it is a jolly man jingling bells announcing his arrival with cheer with his reindeer and elves, his bag of gifts for the nice children in the world and this is the magic that makes Christmas Eve a day most awaited day of the year for everybody! Merry Christmas…!