Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Origin of Santa Claus

A long time ago, in Turkey, in a city called Myra, lived a young bishop named Nicholas. Despite his age, Nicholas was a wise man.
It so happened that a father in his neighborhood was about to sell his three daughters since he couldn’t afford their dowries. The family was very poor.
Nicholas gave a thought and then came up with a generous idea. Secretly, at night, he climbed on top of the poor family’s house and dropped a bag of gold coins down the chimney to provide for the girls’ dowries. He did it for three consecutive nights. And so the three girls were saved from being sold.
This story took place some time around the 4th century. As time went on, the legend of St. Nicholas spread to other lands: Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, and England.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch called him Sinter-Klaas, a variant of St. Nicholas. And, after the discovery of America, some Dutch settlers founded New Amsterdam in the newly discovered continent. We all know this city today as New York.
The Dutch brought the tradition of Sinter-Klaas to America as they settled in New York. Plays and stories evolved and additions to the legend of Sinter-Klaas took place: they gave him another variant of name: Santa Claus, together with stories about the flying reindeer, the toy factory in North Pole, and the furry outfit he wore.
People still holds St. Nicholas Day on December 6 every year. But, seeing how close that date is to Christmas, finally the two celebrations were fused, and Santa Claus becomes the icon of Christmas as well.

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