History and origin of santa claus

History and origin of Santa Claus. This is how many people imagine Santa Claus (Source: Thinkstock by Getty-Images)

Santa Claus has a long tradition of visiting children and their families around the world on the annual Christmas holiday. But what is the story behind the man in the red and white coat?? One thing is clear: for most people of the Christian faith, Christmas without Santa Claus is unimaginable, and many non-believers and people of other faiths around the world have long adopted this tradition as well.

Christmas in other countries: This is how it is celebrated here

In Russia, on the other hand, people don't celebrate until New Year's Eve. That's when Ded Moroz (Father Frost) comes with his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) and puts presents under the Christmas tree. Meanwhile, the family celebrates with a variety of food and champagne. At midnight, there are fireworks. (Source: imago images/ITAR-TASS)

White Christmas - not a thing in Down Under. Australians celebrate under plastic fir trees in summer temperatures. On December 26, Santa Claus brings presents down the chimney and then the whole family goes to the beach. (Source: imago images/AAP)

Unofficially, Christmas celebrations in Spain begin on December 22, the day on which the Christmas lottery is played, which pays out immense sums of money every year. However, Spanish children do not receive presents until later, on January 6. (Source: imago images/Agencia EFE)

Merii Kurisumasu! Christmas Eve is an ordinary working day in Japan - with only about 1.5 percent Christians, this is not surprising. Nevertheless, more and more Santas and even Christmas trees can be found in Japan. December 24 is more like other commercial celebrations here, such as Valentine's Day. (Source: imago images/AFLO)

Feliz Navidad! For Mexicans, Christmas celebrations begin as early as December 15, at the so-called Posadas. They depict Mary and Joseph's search for an inn, reenacted by friends, family and neighbors ringing the front doorbell. They also include smashing pinatas and drinking Mexican fruit punch. Gifts aren't given until Jan. 6. (Source: Getty Images/rustyl3599)

The Christmas season in the USA begins with the lavish decorating of the houses. December 24 has much less significance than here. It is not until the evening before Christmas Day that children hang stockings on chimneys or railings, which are then filled by Santa Claus during the night. (Source: Getty Images/SergeYatunin)

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From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus: a long story

For children in particular, Christmas is an exciting time, culminating with a visit from Santa Claus. However, few people know where Santa Claus actually originated, or whether he is a pure invention or not.

If you look at the history of Santa Claus historically, it becomes clear that the figure can be traced back to the legend of St. Nicholas. He originated in what is now Turkey, was a bishop and presumably died on 6. December – herein lies the origin of St. Nicholas Day.

From the legend of St. Nicholas to today’s Santa Claus, however, it was still a long way.

The story of the "child in the man

The cult of St. Nicholas was changed by Martin Luther and the Reformation. Under his aegis the myth of the Christ Child was born, who now brought the presents on Christmas Eve – instead of St. Nicholas at the beginning of December. The Christ Child was replaced over time by the image of Santa Claus.

The Christmas tradition came to the USA in the luggage of the Dutch who emigrated there. There, Santa Claus was given the name Santa Claus, but in Russia he is still called Father Frost to this day. In 1931, the Swedish cartoonist Haddon Sundblom drew a picture of Santa Claus for the famous Coca-Cola advertising campaign: characteristic features were his long white beard, red coat and a sleigh with reindeer. Coca-Cola has not invented Santa Claus, but has contributed to the spread of its current appearance.

  • Myth or truth?:Did Coca-Cola invent Santa Claus??
  • Who was St. Nicholas of Myra??
  • Christmas traditions:The Christ Child – Who is it really??
  • Around the world:How other countries celebrate Christmas

All in all, the modern Santa Claus combines various European traditions: These include, for example, the Swedish elves, Sinterklaas from the Netherlands, the Christ Child and, last but not least, St. Nicholas.

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