Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Legend of St. Nick
The original Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, was born in the ancient Southeastern Turkish town of
early in the forth century. His generosity was legendary and he was particularly fond of children which led to his becoming the patron saint of children. Lycia
During the middle ages and well beyond, he was referred to by many names, none of them Santa Claus. Children today would not recognize the St. Nick who brought gifts to European children all those centuries ago. Except for a billowy white beard, he bore no resemblance to Santa. He wore red and white bishop’s robes and arrived on donkey opposed to fleet-footed reindeer. And he arrived not late on Christmas Eve to leave gifts but on his Christian feast day of December 6th. Gifts he left at the hearth were fruit, nuts, hard candy, clay and wooden figurines.
During the sixteenth century, St. Nicholas was banished by most European countries, replaced by more secular figures who were not considered center stage at that point in history.
The Dutch kept the tradition of St. Nicholas alive. As the protector of sailors, he graced the prow of the first Dutch ship to arrive in
. The first church in America was named after St. Nicholas. New York City
The Dutch brought two items with them to the new world that were quickly Americanized. In Sixteenth Century Holland, children would leave wooden shoes filled with straw before the hearth the night of St. Nicholas’s arrival. The straw was a meal for the gift-laden donkey. In return, the saint would insert a small gift in the clog. In
the wooden shoe was replaced by a stocking hung at the chimney. America
The Dutch spelled St. Nicholas ‘Sint Nikolass’ which in the new world became ‘Sinterklass’ and eventually Santa Claus.
Much of modern-day lore, including a reindeer-drawn sleigh originated in
, and it was here that he put on weight. The rosy cheeks and roly-poly Santa are credited to the influential nineteenth century cartoonist Thomas Nast. From 1863 until 1886 Nast created a series Of Christmas drawings for Harpers Weekly. These drawings exhibited a gradual evolution from the pudgy elf-like creature to the roly poly bearded life-size bell ringing Santa recognized on street corners today. America
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith
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