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|Santa Claus i.e Saint Nicholas - in ancient West-European tradition, Santa Claus is Father Christmas, who brings gifts to children on Christmas Day. American Santa Claus is a contracted form of Holland’s transcription of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas Day is observed on December 6 (in Russian Orthodox churches, Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on 9th May and December 6 as per Julian calendar).
It is considered, that the image Santa Claus was created by company “Coca-Cola”, which has changed the image of Saint Nicholas for advertising purposes by depicting him in red and white sheepskin coat instead of white clothes. However, this is not the truth.
Historical roots of origin of Santa Claus recede deep into the depths of centuries. Santa Claus, whom we know today, unites many legends and histories, undergoing changes with time, in self.
Prototype Santa Claus of Christian times was Izmir’s bishop Nicholas (City Izmir now belongs to Turkey). Bishop Nicholas lived in 4th century A.D. He was very rich, generous and simply adored children. Often he offered gifts to poor children. Legend states that Nicholas distributed the gifts or placed in windows.
Later on, Nicholas was canonized and is popular as Saint Nicholas Ugodnik in the contemporary Christian world.
In Orthodox Churches, Saint Nicholas is considered patron of travelers. Roman Catholic Church reveres Saint Nicholas as Saint, helping out the children and poor. Saint Nicholas became the most popular saint, whom people pray for children. Hence, December 6 is celebrated as Saint Nicholas Day.
On Protestant territories of Central and Northern Germany, Saint Nicholas became popular later on as Weinachtsmann. In England, the British started referring him to Father Christmas. Saint Nicholas entered into United States of America through Danish immigrants and acquired the name “Santa Claus” in America.
In North American poetry and fine arts, Santa Claus, with his white beard, red jacket and cap with bob, appeared on the night before Christmas in sledges, dragged by eight reindeers, and entered into the house through pipeline and left gifts in stockings, which the children hanged near fireplace.
Children always wanted to know where from Santa Claus comes and where does he spend the entire year from Christmas to Christmas and where does he gets gifts from. From these queries, a legend is making rounds that Santa lives on North Pole and has stores with gifts on North Pole itself.
But, in 1925, no pastures were present on North Pole for reindeers and newspapers informed that Santa Claus actually lives in Finnish Lapland. "Uncle Markus", Markus Rautio, who hosted the famous show "Children's Hour with Unlce Markus" broadcasted by The Finland’s National Broadcasting corporation opened a great secret in 1927: SANTA CLAUS LIVES IN LAPPISH KORVATUNTURI - " THE EAR HILL "
Hill, which is located exactly on east coast of Finland, resembles ears of rabbit but actually is ear of Santa Claus, through which he hears how the children behave all over the world. Santa Claus has assistants, which is group of elves, who in turn have their own history in Scandinavian legends.