SANTA CLAUS – Here is the history and origin of this jolly white haired, bearded man dubbed as the Father Christmas.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure associated with Christmas. He has been a part of the cultural and folklore traditions surrounding the holiday season.
The Christmas figure is known for his generosity in delivering gifts to children on Christmas Eve. Over time, various traditions and stories from different cultures contributed to the development of the character we now recognize as Santa Claus.
Santa Claus is typically depicted as a jolly, rotund man with a long white beard, wearing a red suit, black boots, and a hat. He is said to live at the North Pole, where he operates a magical workshop with elves who help him make toys for children.
According to the stories, Santa keeps a record of children’s behavior throughout the year, determining who has been “naughty” or “nice.” Those on the “nice” list receive gifts, while those on the “naughty” list may get a lump of coal.
The folklore described Santa to travel around the world in a magical sleigh pulled by reindeer, delivering presents to children while they sleep on Christmas Eve.
The origins of Santa Claus can be traced back to Saint Nicholas, a Christian bishop born in 270 AD in the ancient city of Myra (modern-day Turkey). Saint Nicholas, known for his kindness and generosity, became a symbol of gift-giving and compassion.
The term “Kris Kringle” derives from the German term “Christkindl,” which means “Christ Child.” This evolved into Kris Kringle, an alternate name for Santa Claus used in some regions over time.
The Santa Claus character became well-known in literature and art during the beginning of the 1800s. The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas”) by poet Clement Clarke Moore, published in 1823, is credited with helping to create the modern-day image of Santa Claus as a cheerful, round person pulling a sleigh drawn by reindeer.
Coca-Cola advertisements in the 1930s helped popularize the famous red-suited Santa we know today. Haddon Sundblom’s illustrations for the corporation presented Santa as a fat, cheerful man drinking Coca-Cola, establishing this image in popular culture.