Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Origin of Santa Claus

Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santy, or simply Santa is a gift-giving figure in various cultures who distributes presents to children, traditionally on Christmas Eve. Each name is a variation of Saint Nicholas, but refers to the Santa Claus character. The popular American form Santa Claus originated as a mispronounciation of Dutch Sinterklaas, which is a contracted form of Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas).
Santa Claus is a variation of a European folk tale based on the historical figure Saint Nicholas, a bishop from Myra that is now present-day Turkey, who gave presents to the poor. His charity became legend when a man lost his fortune and found himself incapable of supporting his three daughters, who would not be able to find husbands as they lacked doweries. This man was going to give them over to a life prostitution, however St. Nicholas provided them with gold, enabling them to retain their virginal virtues and marry.

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