The making of Santa Claus

Kellie Gleeson

When most people think of Santa Claus, they think of the fat jolly man that climbs down the chimney and leaves children presents.
What some people do not realize is that Santa Claus originated as a religious symbol in the 14th century under the name of Saint Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas was a figure invented by the church in the 14th century.
His name was formed by combining the names of three pagan gods, the Greek God Poseidon, the Roman God Neptune and the Teutonic God Nickar.
His nickname came from Poseidon. Both are considered to be known as the sailors. Neptune and Nickar gave him the first name of Nicholas.
The temples of Poseidon also became shrines for Saint Nicholas. The church continued with this myth and made up a fictional life for the saint. They gave him the name Hagios Nikolaos, also known as St. Nicholas of Myra.
Saint Nicholas was said to have been the bishop of Myra, a country in Lycia, but historians found out that no such bishop was ever named. The Catholic Church went on to say he died in either 345 or 352 BC.
Saint Nicholas of Myra went on to be the patron saint in many countries such as Switzerland, Sicily, Russia and Germany.
Many legends center around this Saint. It is said that when he was young he would only eat on Wednesdays. It is also said that when his father died, he was left with a small fortune, which he used to help needed children around the world.
In the 19th century, St. Nicholas became known as the bearer of gifts. He was said to secretly bring gifts to children around the world. He also had a helper called Pelznickel, a dwarf like creature who would help in the gift giving process.
With these three things combined, the legend of Kriss Kringle, also known as Santa Claus, was formed.
Today, Saint Nicholas is given his own feast day which lands on Dec. 6. On this day, he goes around and places a single gift to the children of the world.
His other half, Santa Claus, delivers presents to children all over the world on Christmas Eve. This figure has many names in many countries.
In Russia, he is known as Father Frost. This name was given to him during the age of communism. Father Frost delivers presents to children on New Years Eve.
In Scandinavian countries, he is known as the Jultomte and in England he is Father Christmas.