Santa Claus is associated with everything with a red outfit and hat and with the fact that he flies with presents on the great sleigh harnessed by reindeers. This image of Saint Nicholas is nothing more than a fake creation created by pop culture and the trade industry. What is the real story of Saint Nicholas? Who was he really? – On December 6, we celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day and it is a perfect day to resolve all doubts about this character.
Saint Nicholas – Bishop who helped the poor -Santa Claus.
Nicholas, called the Bishop of Mira, was born in Patar in present-day Turkey around 270 years. From an early age, the bishop was very devout and willingly helped the poor, which was easier because his parents were very wealthy people.
One day, Santa Claus learned that one of the inhabitants of Patara fell into poverty. He raised three daughters who, due to lack of money, could not get married. Mira’s bishop threw a purse with money through the window, which saved them from poverty. When he became a bishop, he became famous among the faithful as a benefactor and zealous priest. Santa Claus saved three small thieves from death by asking Emperor Constantine the Great in Constantinople to spare their lives.
Saint Nicholas, an advocate of the poor
These and many other wonderful stories about the life of Bishop Mira contributed to his beatification and forever made famous the name of Nicholas as an advocate of the poor and in need of help. Few people know that Santa Claus is also a patron of sailors. During his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a powerful storm broke out at sea. The whole crew gathered around the bishop, asking for intercession to God, who heard the prayers and the ship survived.
The cult of Saint Nicholas is widespread throughout the world.
The cult of Saint Nicholas began to spread quickly throughout the Christian world. This is evidenced primarily by the number of churches that were named after him. There are 11 of them in Rome alone, and 327 in Poland. We owe the popularization of Saint Nicholas to the Dutch. St. Nicholas was the patron of Amsterdam and he was especially worshiped there. He was portrayed as an old man in the bishop’s robes who rode a donkey.
From the sixteenth century, Saint Nicholas was imagined coming by boat from across the Ocean and riding a white horse. In the Netherlands, records of the celebration of December 6 date back to the fourteenth century, when students and church choir members received pocket money and had a day off. When the British captured the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and founded New York, the Dutch who lived there continued the tradition of giving gifts.
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The first St. Nicholas’ Day took place on December 6, 1804
The custom of giving presents to each other on St. Nicholas quickly adopted also among other residents, and on December 6, 1804, the first St. Nicholas’ Day was organized. The gifts of that time were more modest than today. Good children were given apples, gilded nuts, gingerbread, and wooden crosses. As time passed, St. Nicholas’ Day was no longer associated with the anniversary of the saint’s death, but with a fat, elderly gentleman in a red dress. The image of Saint Nicholas was born in the United States in the 1930s and has survived to this day.
Santa Claus – does it really exist?
– In one religion lesson, I tried to explain to children that Santa Claus really existed. It was more difficult because some of them were already made aware by parents that Saint Nicholas was not there. Few people know that this is a historical figure, raised by the Church on the altar.
We must remember that celebrating Saint Nicholas Day has one goal – to bring joy to others. Therefore, on December 6, first of all, think about doing something good for the other person. Let’s also remember that this need was born from the heart, not from colorful exhibitions and fashion for Saint Nicholas’ Day.