Year-round Festivals Series 43 – St Nicholas’ Day – Is there really a Santa Claus?

Does Santa Claus, a popular character, really exist?

Santa Claus is inspired by a real person. The answer could be found in the English name of Santa Claus. The Dutch word Sinterklaas is the origin of Santa Claus. 6 December is the anniversary of the death of St. Nicholas and is also celebrated as a holy day, which is a popular commemoration in Europe and the United States.

Born in Patara, Turkey in 280 A.D., Nicholas was known for his generosity. In a Christian story, he gave money to a poor father to prevent him from selling his daughters into slavery because the father had no money to pay for the dowry of his three daughters. In the story, Nicholas threw gold coins through the family’s window and the money landed in their shoes, which were cooling in the fireplace.

In Poland and Ukraine, it is a tradition that children wait for gifts to be placed under their pillows on St Nicholas Day. Those who do well will find a gift; those who don’t will find a twig or a small charcoal under their pillow.

The placing of presents in Christmas stockings and the dropping of presents down the chimney by Santa Claus at Christmas are also inspired by the story of St Nicholas dropping coins through the window.

Generosity is an important spiritual value on St Nicholas Day. St Nicholas’ parents died young and left him a large inheritance. Having lost his parents, he decided to use his wealth to help and rescue the poor, those who were less fortunate than him. The kindness of young Nicholas made me feel how beautifully he was raised by his parents. Generosity is not a noble trait to be born with, it is a sacrifice. The tragic loss of his parents did not make him cynical or lament his misfortune. We can also imagine that St Nicholas’ parents were also very generous.

St Nicholas Day is one of the most important festivals in Western Christianity and marks the arrival of Christmas. St Nicholas Day also falls during an important Christian festival: Advent.

Advent is a period of preparation and waiting for the celebration of Christmas, the New Year of the Church. This year, Advent will begin on the 1st of December, a time when people remember the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he was born in Bethlehem, and look forward with eager anticipation to the Lord’s second coming and return to Jerusalem.

Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus

The image of Santa Claus in his red suit, eyeglasses and Santa hat that we see today was created by the Coca-Cola Company in the United States.

In the American tradition, Santa Claus always rides happily into the night sky on Christmas Eve on a sleigh with six reindeer and boxes of presents. Late at night, he would climb down chimneys from house to house to deliver presents to children. The image of Santa Claus became popular with the Coca-Cola Company through massive publicity.

In the United States and Canada, Santa Claus is believed to live in the Arctic. Santa Claus can be found all year round in Finland’s Santa Claus Village, where you can feel the Christmas spirit all year round.

#YearroundFestivalSeries #StNicholasDay #SantaClaus #Generosity


✍🏼 Write + Create 

◢ Elva Lai enjoys creating art, reading, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her education in Singapore, the United States, Germany and Hong Kong.
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