Santa Claus, the mythical character is still alive
and well and is known all over the world as: Nicholas of Myra, Santa Claus or "Santa" in America.
His gift-giving role in Christmas rites probably follows from his fame as the friend of
children. The story also tells that he used to give
anonymous donations of gold coins to persons in need. His cult spread in Europe and Christmas presents were distributed
on December 6th when the celebration of St. Nicholas took place.
the friend of children. Santa Claus comes alive from the Christmas poem
St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus originally came from the Dutch
version called Sint Klaas. In Greek, St. Nicholas is known as Hagios Nikolaos, Bishop of Myra. St Nicholas reportedly died about 350 AD.
The most important single source for our modern day version of Santa Claus comes from the Christmas poem
A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore. Written for his children in 1823,
the family poem was later published for the general public and included what became the now famous picture of Santa Claus by Thomas Nast.
In Italy Babbo
Natale, which means Father Christmas, is Santa. Children put a pair of their shoes by the door on the day before Epiphany and the following morning they find them
filled with small gifts and candy. Italy, like Spain, Portugal and most of the Latin American nations, is mostly Catholic.
December 25 is a day of more religious observance, remembering the birth of Christ. The Epiphany, called Little
Christmas, is the day for gift giving. However, Babbo Natale does come on Christmas Eve in some parts of Italy.
In Spain children leave their shoes under the Christmas tree the night of January 5th and presents from the Three Kings (Los Reyes
Magos: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) appear the next morning. Santa Claus is called Papa Noel and some children receive presents both days on December 24th (from Papa Noel) and on January 6th (from the Three Kings). In Puerto Rico, children receive gifts from the Three Kings on January 6th, also called the celebration of Epiphany, the 3 Kings' Day. Each child puts grass under their bed for the camels.
In the morning the grass is replaced with gifts. Also, Puerto Rico, being part of the United States, does its major gift giving on December 25, with the Christmas Tree and
Santa Claus - in this sense, Puerto Rico is totally Americanized.
Santa Claus is known
in different names
Santa Claus is known all over the world in different names as:
In the United States and Canada, his name is Santa Claus.
In China, he is called Shengdan Laoren.
In England, his name is Father Christmas , where he has a longer coat and a longer beard.
In France, he is known as Pere Noel.
In Germany, children get presents from Christindl, the Christ Child.
In Costa Rica, Colombia, and parts of Mexico, the gift bearer is el Niño Jesus, "the infant
In Brazil and Peru, he is called Papa Noel.
In Japan, Santa Clause is called Santa Clause or just "Santa". Children often call him "Santa no ojisan," which means "Uncle Santa."
In Sweden Jultomten visits the evening before Christmas day, pulling a big bag of julklappar
in the deep snow.
In the Netherlands, he is called Kerstman.
In Finland, he is called Joulupukki.
Sinter Klaas in Dutch. He rides a white horse, leaving gifts in wooden shoes.
In Russia, he is called Grandfather Frost that is "ded moroz".
He is also called Kris Kringle - which comes from the German term "the Christ Child"
In Morocco he is known as Black Peter.
Countless legends are told about this Patron Saint of Giving known as St. Nicholas. Within both Western and Eastern Christian Churches similar mythology, or tradition, exists.
According to these legends, St. Nicholas was born in the city of Patara, and traveled to Palestine and Egypt when he was young.
He was later imprisoned during persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian, but was fortunately released by the more humanitarian Emperor Constantine. He attended the first council of Nicaea in 325.
St Nicholas reportedly died about 350 AD.
Christmas is a time to beg forgiveness
Christmas is a time to beg forgiveness wholeheartedly for our misdeeds and celebrate the birthday of our Saviour
Jesus Christ merrily. Christmas is restoring the peace of the world. It brings hope and
gives a new lease of life. It means a time to reconcile and submit ourselves
completely to Jesus. It means a time to help the poor and needy, share the joys
and pains of loved ones. Let’s forget everything else this season and bring Jesus and his teachings at the
centre, so that this Christmas turns out to be the most joyous celebration ever.
PM Manmohan Singh greeted the nation on the occasion of Christmas and said the festival was an
opportunity to celebrate the spirit of sharing and imbibe the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The prime minister said in his message: “Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, is an occasion for hope and happiness and provides an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of sharing and
brotherhood.” He added: “We should rededicate ourselves on this occasion to imbibe the life and teachings of Christ for the welfare of humankind.
"I urge people to work for the uplift of the needy and underprivileged."
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