When we think about Christmas, there are a lot of things that string through our minds. Christmas trees, tinsel, snow, a warm hearth, children, gifts and, of course, Santa Claus! But you know, there is also that one other person in whose image Santa Claus was created. Yes, it is Saint Nicholas. Many of us have heard about him but questions like 'was he the original Santa', 'what did he do' etc may need some research. Is St Nicholas just another myth and/or legend? No! Saint Nicholas was a real person who was born in a small village called Patara, in the third century. He came from a wealthy family and was religious even at a very young age. His parents died, leaving him with a large inheritance. Nicholas, being the person that he was, decided to use this inheritance to help the needy! Eventually, he was made the Bishop of Myra. His giving nature was popular amongst all those who knew him. Read on to find out more about Saint Nicholas and Saint Nicholas day that is celebrated on the 6th of December.
St. Nicholas's Story
The Patron Saint
St. Nicholas was bestowed with the title of 'saint' because of his kindness and the things he did for people. He is not only the patron saint of children, but also of sailors and ships! Legend has it that once, when some sailors were caught up in a storm and prayed to St. Nicholas, he appeared and calmed the storm and got the ship to dock safely at the port.
The Story Of The Three Purses
One of the stories that show us his kindness is of a poor man who had three daughters, but not enough money to marry any of them off. On hearing about this family, Saint Nicholas decided to help the poor man. Nicholas, being modest and not wanting to disgrace the poor man by giving him money directly, waited until nightfall to throw three purses filled with gold coins through the window of the poor man's house. Though there are many variations of how he delivered the money, it definitely shows that Saint Nicholas was a kind hearted and generous person. With the passage of time however, people invariably started to believe that if they got a secret gift, it was from Saint Nicholas!
St. Nicholas And Santa Claus
Though in the 16th century, St. Nicholas was not as popular, he was known by other names and was associated with giving presents to children. He was known as Father Christmas in the UK while, in France he was known as Pere Noel and Christ Kind in Germany. In USA, at one point of time, he was known as Kris Kringle but the name was then taken by the Dutch who fused the old stories of St. Nicholas with their Kris Kringle stories and a new character 'Sinterklaas' took shape. This, of course, became Santa Claus over time, the most loved figure of Christmas!
St. Nicholas is associated with Christmas not only because of his connection to Santa Claus but also because he was a kind and giving person. He was someone everybody loved and that's what Christmas is all about, isn't it?