The beloved symbol of Christmas has long been the traditional Santa Claus figure. In many countries though, there have been variations and different versions of this popular Christmas symbol such as Pere Noel, Kris Kringle and Noel Baba. Although all these figures are ideally seen as situated in the North Pole, there have been various deliberations over where they actually originate from. Noel Baba, a popular Turkish symbol of a gift-giver, is unusually associated with New Year's Eve and less with Christmas. Although the ideal of a gift-giver was imported from the West, the Turkish peculiarly fused it with the cultures of a traditional New Year's Eve, and this popular symbol has been associated with December 31, rather than Christmas day, ever since. However anomalous it may sound, Turkish people serve roasted turkey, wine and light up Christmas trees, keep presents under a pine tree and receive gifts from brightly dressed 'Noel Baba' on the last day of the year.
Noel Baba Oyunlari
History Of Noel Baba
The history of Noel Baba Oyunlari dates back to 245 A.D in the town of Patara. Synonymous with Father Christmas, this popular figure apparently lived off the sunny coast of the Mediterranean Sea, now known as Turkey. History states that Noel Baba's father died very young and left behind a great fortune for the little boy. Noel Baba, realizing his responsibilities and legacy left behind by his father, began to donate all his fortunes among the impoverished and the downtrodden, particularly children.
Throughout his life, Noel Baba was known for his selfless deeds and he was later labeled the Bishop of Myra. It was here he miraculously resurrected three boys from the dead, saved drowning sailors and eventually went on to become a patron saint associated with children. By this time, the legend of Santa Claus eventually began to catch on, and the story of Noel Baba subsequently went on to merge with that of Santa Claus. Another story began to develop that a nobleman, who had three daughters, could not afford to get them married to wealthy households because he had no money to give as a dowry. One particular night, Noel Baba is said to have thrown a sack of gold through the window of the nobleman's house that helped in getting at least one of his daughter's married. Thus, Noel Baba came to be known as the symbol of benevolence, harmony, brotherhood and peace and went on to become the traditional, yet modern gift-giver on the Eve of New Year's in Turkey.
Popularity Of Noel Baba
The popularity of Noel Baba grew when the legacy of Santa Claus began to develop and conceptualize in different parts of the world. Since then, there have been countless movies, songs and books on Noel Baba, that are now tantamount with the holiday spirit in Turkey. Along with a popular movie called 'Noel Baba', educational centers and cafes have also been named after this popular Christmas symbol.
Thousands of pilgrims flock the believed birthplace of Saint Nicholas in modern Demre (earlier known as Myra) to know more about the legend behind Noel Baba and his services towards humanity, especially children. Although Noel Baba is celebrated with pomp around New Year's Eve, he is still revered and looked upon as the generous Saint who contributed and changed the lives of many penurious children and altered the fate of humankind.