It’s December, the month to celebrate the birth of the Christ. On the other hand, there is one more figure associated with this festival ‘the Santa Claus’. According to some Christians, one should only focus on the Christ during Christmas, not on Santa who is a Myth. Despite the fact sounds true, but it is really difficult to toss out all the old books, stories and poems associating the Christmas and Santa. In fact, all of us must have narrated one of the Santa stories to our children on the eve of Christmas.
The question arises that why inspite of being a myth the Santa stories are still very famous. Here are five most interesting facts which will clear your doubts about our biggest childhood fantasy ‘ The Santa’.
1.THE LEGEND of ST. NICHOLAS
St. Nicholas was a legendary monk of the 4th century. He lived in Patara, near Myra in Turkey. He was the only son of his parents. When he was quite young his parents died of the plague. He was a rich man with a huge amount of inherited wealth. Nicholas soon realized that the biggest happiness lies in making someone happy. Thus, he started helping people secretly, because he didn’t want to be in the limelight.
There are several stories of St. Nicholas helping people in various forms. One of the best-known story among them is about St. Nicholas helping a poor father of three daughters by providing him with the dowry for getting them married. Nicholas covertly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney. By chance, the bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry. This led to the custom of hanging a stocking for Christmas gifts among children.
2. How St.nicholas became Santa Claus.
In the 18th century, some of the Dutch’s family residing in New York started distributing gifts on street to pay tribute to St. Nicholas. It is during this period that the name Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch version of St. Nicholas’s name i.e. ‘the Sinter Klaas’. As this happened a day before Christmas eve thus this trend of gift distribution became popular in American culture.
In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society popularized the present version of Santa Claus. He distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society’s annual meeting. The background of these engravings contains present days Santa images with stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace.
In 1809, Washington Irving mentioned St.Nicholas as a patron saint in his book who is a savior and helper for children, sailors and poor. His book became a best seller at that time. Ultimately the Sinter Klass became the merry old gift giver Santa Claus. Several stories and poems are now trending to describe this godly man.
3.THE NINTH REINDEER- most famous of all Santa stories
Rudolph, is the most famous reindeer among all the reindeer Santa have. He is a red-nosed wonder created by Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward department store.
May wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem in which he told the story of Rudolph, who is a young reindeer often teased by the other deer because of his large, glowing, red nose. Once the Christmas Eve turned foggy and Santa started worrying about delivering gifts that night. Eventually, the Rudolph saved the day by guiding the sleigh through the illumination of his reddened nose. The story conveys a message that at the time of opportunity, a burden can also act as an asset. This story is very popular among children even today.
4.TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS- a poem which made Santa alive.
Clement Clarke Moore, a Pontifical minister, in 1822 wrote a long Christmas poem for his daughters entitled “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” Moore’s poem was mainly responsible for our modern image of Santa Claus as a chubby figure having supernatural ability to ascend from the chimney and place gifts in stockings. Moore’s poem created a new and popular American icon.
In 1881, a famous cartoonist Thomas Nast got inspired by Moore’s poem. In this instance, he created the first picture that matches our modern image of Santa Claus. His cartoon appeared in Harper’s Weekly. Santa is portrayed in his cartoon as a plump, cheerful man with a full, white beard, holding a sack laden with toys for deserving children. Nast gave him his entrancing red suit with cute white fur. He also gave him his North Pole workshop, nine reindeer, sleigh and wife, Mrs. Claus.
5. Significance of narrating stories of Santa Claus to children
The world of children moves around fantasies like the fairy tales, the unicorns and of course the Santa. No one of us can imagine a childhood without Santa stories. So, the fact behind narrating Santa stories is that at Christmas, we celebrate the birth of God. He himself came in bodily form to earth to teach a lesson of kindness and love. St. Nicholas without any doubts had lived a life that helped others to see the reality of Christ. So, by featuring St.Nocholas in children friendly form, we can teach children how one can follow his example and help others to see Christ in themselves.
We all are familiar with the fact that it is easy to teach the lessons of life to our little ones in the form of stories and imaginations. Therefore, Kids after receiving gifts from their favorite Santa entrust on God and have faith in following of right path. A conclusion is that even we all know that the Santa is a Myth but still deep in our hearts we like to believe in this Myth.