Santa Predecessor #1: St. Nicholas of Myra

St. Nicholas was a bishop always depicted with a beard and cloth robes. He was known for giving gifts, particularly pertaining to a story where he gave gifts to 3 daughters of a poor Christian to prevent them from becoming prostitutes. He also, on several accounts, bailed many prisoners out of jail who were put there false accounts made against them. This is mainly where the gift-giving of the modern version comes from. His death on December 6th lead to the common ritual of giving children gifts as a way to celebrate his memory. Despite the Reformation in 1500’s that lead to the creation of the Protestant sect and snuffed out the use or meaning of Saints, St. Nicholas’ legacy was very prevalent in other cultures. In fact, although Protestants had changed the dates of both the eve and day of Yule, the Dutch still recognized the original date of December 6th, leading into the next predecessor later seen in that culture.

Sources:

bio.TRUE STORY: http://www.biography.com/people/st-nicholas-204635

Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus

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6 thoughts on “Santa Predecessor #1: St. Nicholas of Myra

  1. In popular culture, he plays the good guy role, the bad guy is called in french “Père fouettard”. his duty is to punish the children who were nasty during the year. St Nicholas rewards the good ones 🙂

    1. That’s . . .kinda scary, but cool at the same time lol There’s one similar to that somewhere elese (either Germany or Russia) but there’s not really a ‘good guy and a bad guy’. Their version plays both roles and has a group of men that help him punish the child, which seems gruesome, but it’s very interesting.

      1. They are, which makes it even more intriguing because it’s like a giant web. All of these vague and ominous similairities kind of connected to one simple thing that started ages ago, it’s weird, but in a good way.

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