A Santa History

Santa Claus was really St. Nicholas.  Saint Nicholas was born in 245 AD and died in 350 AD in Lycia, Anatolia, a province on the southwest coast of Asia Minor.  This part of the world is now Turkey.  He was a bishop of a church.  The legend of his generosity has been handed down throughout the years through thousands of churches.

In 1823, Clement C. Moore wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas’, which showed Santa Claus driving a sleight drawn by “eight tiny reindeer.”  We know this story as “The Night Before Christmas.”   The image of Santa Claus, as we know him,  was drawn by Thomas Nast.

There are many legends of St. Nicholas, but this is the most famous legend and it includes elements of today’s Santa.  A nobleman who lived with his three daughters had fallen on hard times. The daughters had no chance of marriage, since their father could not pay their dowries.

One night, St. Nicholas threw a sack of gold through a window of the nobleman’s shabby castle, which was enough for one daughter’s marriage. The next night, he tossed another sack of gold through the window for the second daughter.

But on the third night, the window was closed. So, St. Nicholas climbed onto the roof and dropped the sack down the chimney. The next morning, the daughters found the gold in the stockings they had hung to dry by the fireplace.

That, my friends, is why we leave our stockings out for Santa Claus.

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One Response to A Santa History

  1. Mark A. Smith says:

    You attribute “A Visit From St. Nicholas” to Clement Moore but ignore that it is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and only later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. Many commentators now believe the poem was written by Henry Livingston Jr.. Moore was an opportunist who profited from the work of a Revolutionary War veteran, whose family has attested for generations that Livingston was the author. Moore only had powerful friends and made his claim nine years after Livingston’s death in a period when copyright was often violated.

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