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Santa Claus

Santa Claus has been accredited with various names like Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kringle, Kris or simply Santa. But all these names refer to the same person St. Nicholas, who was born many centuries ago in the 4th century in Lycia, Anatolia, a province on the south west coast of Asia Minor, which is the present day Turkey.


St. Nicholas took up the job of bishop in a church of Myra. He performed many miracles, which awarded him with a status of a saint. All of his miracles were associated with the idea of gift giving.

According to the legends St. Nicholas once saved a sailor who fell overboard by walking on water and carrying the sailor back to the ship. St. Nicholas was also known to throw gifts on children from their windows. According to one of the most famous miracle performed by him, St. Nicholas once threw bags of gold for the tree daughters of a poor man who were under the threat of being forced into prostitution, as they didn't have the money for their wedding dowries. For the elder two daughters he crept up to the window and threw the gold bags inside while for the last and the youngest daughter he threw a bag of gold which landed in the stockings set by her by the fireplace for drying. In fact the connection of Santa Claus with the chimneys and the stockings come from this story only.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas', a poem penned down by Clement Clark Moore in 1823 brought about the transformation of St. Nicholas to the Santa Claus of today. The poem had the description of St. Nicholas in a red suit driving the sleigh drawn by eight reindeers which had names given to them by the saint. The poet while writing the poem created a model of Santa Claus, which is followed till now. Santa Claus forms an important part of the Christmas celebrations throughout the western world and the other parts of East Asia. According to the legends and traditions associated with Christmas, Santa Claus visits each and every house on the Christmas Eve flying in the sky on his sleigh drawn by his eight reindeers.

On every Christmas Eve Santa Claus brings gift and presents for the children all over the world and places them in the stockings hanged by the kids near the fireplace. The description of Santa Claus matches to a great extent with the Russian character of Ded Moroz. Traditionally Santa Claus is portrayed as a loving, merry, round-bellied, bespectacled white old man who wears a red coat trimmed with white fur. He is seen once a year on the Christmas Eve distributing the toys to the children all over the world. For the rest of the year Santa Claus is believed to be living on the North Pole along with his wife and his elves where he manufactures toys.

Many rituals have also been associated with Santa Claus, which are usually performed by the kids for getting gifts from Santa Claus. Like in the United States and Canada, children leave a glass of milk and some cookies for the Santa Claus while in Britain and Australia he is given sherry and mince pies. Even carrots are kept for the Santa Claus's reindeers in United States, Britain and Australia. A very famous tradition followed by the children in these countries is of writing a letter to Santa Claus.

These letters generally contain wish list of the kids and the declaration of good behavior by the kids. It has been found that girls write more polite letters in comparison to the boys. Around Christmas many postal services allow the kids to send letters to the Santa Claus, which are usually answered by the postal workers or the volunteers of Christmas.

In fact in Canada a special postal code for the letters to Santa Claus has been set up. According to a calculation the Santa Claus of Finland has received about eight million letters till date.

Another tradition concerned with the letters to Santa Claus is that of burning down the letters written to Santa Claus in Britain, as it is believed that with the wind these letters would be automatically transported to the North Pole. Nowadays many people have come up with different websites also, which allow the kids to write their letters to Santa Claus.

Santa Claus has become such a magnificent figure that He has inspired many songs till date. Some of the famous songs, which have been centered on Santa Claus, are 'Christmas All Over the World', composed by Bill house and John Hobbs, 'Here Comes Santa Claus', penned down by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman, 'I Believe in Father Christmas' by Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield and 'Up on the Housetop' which is a traditional song. Beside these many songs for Santa Claus have been written by many people around the world.

No description of Santa Claus can be complete without the mention of Santa's reindeers, which have been given the names of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, who is also called by the name of Donner as some people find it difficult to pronounce Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph.




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