THE DIFFERENT NAMES
Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, Santa Claus, Baboo Natale, Pere Noel … many are the names that this character receives, that each Christmas Eve travels the planet distributing gifts to children.
But the only living Father of flesh lived in the fourth century of the Christian era in the valleys of Lycia in Asia Minor. His name was Nicolás and he was one of the most revered figures of the Christians of the East and West throughout the Middle Ages.
It seems that Nicolás de Bari was born into a wealthy family of merchants and that, after his parents died from the plague, moved by the disaster, he divided his inheritance among the frightened crowd that had survived the catastrophe. Then he set off for Myra (Turkey), to find his uncle who was the bishop of the place.
According to legend, after the death of his uncle, the priests of the area, not agreeing on who would be his successor, decided to choose the first Christian to put their feet in the church. And so, Nicholas became bishop of Myra.
Since the middle of s. XIII St. Nicholas distributed the gifts and toys during the night of December 5 to 6, but after the Catholic Counter Reformation (1545-1563), another character emerged, Christkind, the baby Jesus, who would distribute gifts on Christmas day. The advance of the tradition of the gifts of the child Jesus forced St. Nicholas to hand over his gifts on the 25th. The adorable mission of distributing gifts to children at Christmas was adopted throughout Europe.
From then on, his figure grew to such a point that he became the patron saint of Greece and Russia and temples were erected in his name throughout Europe. Even in 1807, Italian sailors seized their remains from the Muslims and took them to Bari, where they still remain.
The tradition of Saint Nicholas carrying the gifts on Christmas Eve spread throughout Europe during the twelfth century, mixing with other celebrations. Five hundred years later, the Dutch bring the tradition to the United States. In Spain, on the other hand, it is the Three Kings who are in charge of the gifts, and that custom is spread to Latin America.
Until the writer Clement Moore imagined him in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer, Santa Claus distributed his gifts on foot, or mounted on a horse. And it was first drawn in 1931 by Coca-Cola that gave it its current appearance. This company commissioned Habdon Sundblom, who remodeled the Santa Claus of Thomas Nast, for the Christmas advertising campaign of that year. He created a taller Santa Claus, even more chubby, but more friendly, with a good-natured face, roguish, sparkling and friendly eyes, with white hair and long beard and mustache, also white, silky and pleasant. The dress maintained the red and white colors, which are those of the company, but his suit became more luxurious and attractive.
This biography of Santa Claus tries to disprove some versions that are commented on that the gifts in good night are put by the parents of the children. Nothing further from reality.
The Romans were the first to decorate their trees for each of their celebrations. Later, the habit moved to northern Europe. That is why the trees that are chosen to be decorated are pines or firs, typical of that area. And they are covered with silver garlands simulating the snow that abounds in the northern hemisphere in December.
There is also a legend that says that in the old Germania of the seventh century, an English missionary monk carved on Christmas Eve an oak tree that was used in pagan festivals to offer human sacrifices. And in that place, a fir tree grew. This species was later taken as a symbol of Christianity.
Another European legend tells that during a cold winter night, a child sought refuge in the house of a lumberjack and his wife, who received him and gave him food. During the night, the boy became an angel dressed in gold: he was the Child God. To reward the kindness of the elders, he took a branch from a pine tree and told them to plant it, prom