Transcript

How Santa Came to Be

How Santa Claus 6.Came to Be THE ORIGINS OF SANTA AND THE MOST FAMOUS CHRISTMAS CHARACTERS The Origins of the legend of Santa Claus Although it may seem like it, there wasn't always the jolly red-cloaked, rosy-red cheeked and gloriously white-bearded man we know today as Santa Claus. In fact, the story of Santa Claus is the result of the gradual combination of many gift-giving myths and beliefs that have kept children up at night with excitement for hundreds of years. Origin: Lycia Era: 300s AD Odin Origin: Germanic Regions Era: 500s AD Saint Nicholas Born in 270 AD in modern day Turkey, Saint Nicholas was very much a real person. He was known for donating money to the poor and other charitable acts such as helping people in need and gift-giving. It is these actions that likely gave birth to the Saint Nicholas of folklore that lives on today. Long before Christmas was celebrated throughout Northern Europe, the people of those regions celebrated a midwinter holiday called Yule. During Yuletide celebrations, the Wild Hunt is said to occur which is a supernatural procession of ghostly beings that travel across the sky. On the back of his flying eight-legged horse, the leader of this procession is the Norse god Odin who delivers gifts to anxious onlookers. Sinterklaas Origin: Netherlands Era: Middle Ages The name Sinterklaas arose from the gradual evolution in how the name Sint Nicolaas was pronounced. This name, of course, is the Dutch spelling and pronunciation of Saint Nicholas. Widely regarded as the direct precursor of Santa Claus, Sinterklaas wears a bishops hat and robes and on the morning of December 6th, rides his white horse over the rooftops delivering gifts to children who were well-behaved throughout the year. Sinterklaas is still an important holiday figure in many countries throughout the world. Origin: Iceland Era: 1750s Origin: England Father Christmas Yule lads Era: 1610s Boasting a long white beard and glorious green cloak, Father Christmas was associated with bringing laughter and Christmas cheer. Unlike the modern North American Santa Claus, he was not associated with gift giving or bringing joy to children but rather adult Said to be the sons of mountain trolls, one of the 13 Yule Lads come down from the mountains each night to visit children for the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. If a child has behaved well during the year, they will receive gifts but if they have behaved badly, they will receive rotten potatoes or have pranks played on them. Each Yule Lad is known for a specific festivities such as alcohol drinking and feasting. Over the centuries, Father Christmas has continued to change and evolve into a character that is now often seen as mischievous act and this coincides with the pranks they play. synonymous with Santa Claus. Once used as a ploy to scare children into good behavior, the Yule Lads are now seen as figures similar to Santa Claus. Ded Moroz Origin: Russia Era: 1800s Origin: Denmark Era: 1840s Tomte Ded Moroz translates literally to "Old Man Frost" and was originally presented in tales as an evil Standing at about 3 feet tall, these four fingered creatures live hidden in homes throughout the year acting as the family's loyal guardians. Appearing visibly similar to Santa in wizard that kidnapped children. The Ded Moroz that is celebrated today, however, has transformed into a benign figure that delivers gifts to children in person during festivities on New Year's Eve. With his long white beard and ornate red and white cloak, he bears many similarities to the modern North American depiction of Santa Claus but is set apart by the magical white staff he carries. that they are depicted as old bearded men with red pointed hats, they also deliver gifts on Christmas Day to reward good behavior. When it comes to rude behavior, however, despite their small stature they are known to have incredible physical strength and often punish with violence in the form of biting, punching and are sometimes even known to kill livestock. Origin: United States Santa Claus Era: 1860s While the name "Santa Claus" dates back to before this era, the popularized Santa Claus of North America came to life in the 1860s through the illustrations of Thomas Nast. It was in these illustrations that Santa became the portly, jolly fellow who wears a red coat, pants and hat with white fur trim that is most recognizable today. On his sleigh pulled by magical reindeer, Santa delivers gifts to all of the children who were nice throughout the year while delivering coal to those who were naughty. The Origins of Christmas Characters Origin: United States Era: 1800s Origin: England Jack Frost Ebenezer Scrooge Era: 1843 The story of Ebenezer Scrooge was first told in Charles Dickens' 1843 Jack Frost, also sometimes referred to as Old Man Winter, is novel, A Christmas Carol. Since his first appearance, his story has been told time and time again and has remained an iconic Christmas story to this day. essentially the personification of the winter season. Often described as a mischievous supernatural entity, Jack Frost is believed to be responsible for autumn, freezing weather and inclement conditions. Additionally, he is known for nipping noses and toes with frost bite, cracking and ruining items with cold air and creating the frost patterns that are found on window panes in winter. Ebeneezer Scrooge is a rich money-lender who loathes Christmas and the spirit of giving and good will associated with it. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by a series of ghosts who show him the error of his J. While similar stories originated as early as the 5th century, it wasn't until the early 1800s that the name Jack Frost was first used. cold-hearted and greedy ways. The ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley visits first followed by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. In the end, Scrooge changes his ways and becomes a kind, generous and loving individual. Origin: United States Era: 1939 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Origin: United States Era: 1950 Frosty the Snowman Originally written and illustrated in a free booklet handed out during the holidays at retailer Montgomery Ward, the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer continued to grow in popularity over the following decades and prompted a famous song and iconic stop-motion film. Frosty the Snowman was first introduced in a popular holiday song that prompted a storybook and eventually a film and television special. According to the story, after a snowman is built by a group of school children, they find a silk hat and decide to place it on its head. To their amazement, the silk hat has magical powers and the snowman springs to life. Although he melts when winter is over, since Frosty is made of Christmas snow he will come back to life year after year on Christmas Day. As the story goes, Rudolph is a reindeer with an illuminated red nose and because of this unusual trait he is regarded as a social outcast by the other reindeer. One particularly foggy Christmas Eve, however, Santa discovers Rudolph and asks him to lead the sleigh to help light the way as he delivers gifts. From that point forward Rudolph is celebrated as a hero among Santa's reindeer. The Grinch Origin: United States Era: 1957 The Grinch first appeared in Dr. Seuss' 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and later appeared in the acclaimed television special of the same name. The Grinch is a green, bad-tempered hermit living in the mountains above the happy and good-natured town of Whoville. The inhabitants of Whoville live and breathe the spirit of Christmas and embellish every inch of the town in elaborate decorations. Despising the holiday cheer, the Grinch disguises himself as Santa and steals all of the presents and decorations throughout the town. On Christmas morning, he is astonished to realize he had not broken the Whos spirit as they continue to celebrate the holiday. It is because of this that he learns the true meaning of Christmas spirit and is inspired to change his ways, return all that he had taken and join the Whos in happily celebrating Christmas. SOURCES: KREMP www.wikipedia.org www.history.com www.nationalgeographic.com www.christmasarchives.org www.stnicholascenter.org www.poetryfoundation.org FLORIS T

How Santa Came to Be

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Santa Claus hasn't always been the Christmas legend he is today. Through the eventual evolution of over a thousand years worth of wintertime gift-giving entities Santa Claus was born and has become a ...

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