The Secret Cult of Santa Claus
The following is the true story and origin of the character we know as Santa Claus. I warn all parents right now that this does show that Santa Claus is fictional. So if you have any children looking over, you may want to revisit some other time. These facts are as accurate as I can find and have been documented throughout history to be true.
Who is Santa Claus?
Is Santa Claus a made up person? Yes and No. In the year 270 a man named Nikolaos was born. He later became a bishop of Myra. Over time he was one of the most tenured bishops and helped lay out what Christian's now know as the New Testament. Nikolaos was known for secretly giving gifts, like leaving coins in children's shoes that they left outside. Nikolaos live to be 75 and died on December 6th, 345.
How did Santa get so popular?
Nikolaos had established a gift giving holiday in Bari, Italy, called the Grandmother of Pasqua Epiphania. The Grandmother of Pasqua Epiphania was supposed to be a gift giving spirit that filled the childrens' stockings with gifts. In 1087, sailors that idolized Nikolaos took his bones from Turkey to this place in Italy and made a shrine to him. This became a temple for the cult that followed Nikolaos. In remembrance of his death, members of said cult would give each other presents on the 6th of December.
In 2 years time the Nikolaos cult spread north to Germany and Ireland. These groups worshiped a Pagan God called Woden, who had a long white beard and was said to have ridden a horse through the skies on an August evening, thus giving us the idea that Santa Claus traveled by air. The two, Nikolaos and Woden merged to form a bearded man riding a horse on a solitary evening on December 6th each year.
How did he gain the name Santa Claus?
The Catholic Church, who formerly celebrated a Saturnial festival on the week of the 17th-25th of December, adopted this idea in order to gain more Pagan followers to the Church, but suggested that Nikolaos rode through the skies on the 25th of December distributing gifts to all.
The Dutch Novelist, Washington Irving, wrote "Knickerbocker History" a book including St. Nikolaos, referring to him as Sinterklaas. Upon reading this book, a Union Seminary professor, Clement Moore, wrote a poem entitled "Twas the night before Christmas", including the character Sinterklaas, who he renamed Santa Claus. This is one of the earliest known documentations of Nicholas being called a Saint. Moore painted the picture that Santa Claus had a team of reindeer and climbed down chimneys to deliver gifts to children.
How did Santa get his Image?
A cartoonist for Harper's Weekly, Thomas Nast, published over 2,000 images of what he thought Santa should look like. Nast also fabricated that Santa lived at the north pole with an elf crew that built toys for the children of the world. He is also the man that made up the idea that Santa had a Naughty and Nice list. Nast's various images portrayed Santa dressed in a big frock, elfish like, with a long white beard and fat belly, however there was still one final piece missing about Santa's image.
In 1931 the Coca Cola company was looking to promote it's product to the rest of the world. So... they hired Swedish Illustrator, Haddon Sundblom. Their pitch to Sundblom was for him to create a Santa garnished in Coca Cola Red, drinking a Coca Cola, thus giving us the historical coke drinking Santa Clause image. And that is how Santa Claus came to be, a Coca Cola Marketed, Christianic, Pagan God-like figure.
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