The Deep Lore Of Santa Claus


Haddon Sundblom

Santa Claus holding a Coca-Cola

Henrikch Aguisando, Reporter

One of the first things most people think of when it comes to Christmas is Santa Claus. Other names for him include Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, or just Santa. He is known for flying around the entire world with his reindeer driven flying sled to deliver presents to the nice children and delivering coal or absolutely nothing to the naughty. People know what Santa is all about, but most do not know about what  really inspired the idea of this legendary figure.

The most known origin of where Santa came from dates back to the 4th century. Saint Nicholas of Myra was a Greek Bishop located in Myra on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. He is most notable for giving generous gifts to the poor. The most known event of his generosity was when he prevented three girls being from being forced into prostitution, by dropping a sack of gold into their window each night for three nights. This gold was then used by their father to pay a dowry for each of them. In paintings he is usually depicted with cleric garbs and a white beard.

It doesn’t stop there, in 16th century England, the English had what is essentially the human version of Christmas. Father Christmas is also known for being a gift giver and signifying the seasonal joy, food, and blessings . He is typically depicted with green or scarlet robes and a long beard. During the 19th century he was featured prominently in Christmas folk plays.

The third significant influence on the iconic holiday figure is Odin. Odin is one of the most well known gods in norse mythology, who during the midwinter celebration Yule, would fly through the sky on his eight legged horse spreading gifts through the land. Yuletide traditions surrounding Odin were absorbed with Christian beliefs to make modern day Christmas. Santa’s elves are also said to be derived from norse mythology.

Finally, after diving into the people and characters that inspired the look and idea of Santa, it is time to talk about the other little things that Santa is known for. His phrase, “Ho Ho Ho”, is a representation of how he laughs. The believed reason that it is the way it is instead of, “Ha Ha Ha”, is due to the sound coming from around the stomach area. Santa’s trips down chimneys seem to come from a version of the Saint Nicholas story where he drops coins through a chimney after finding the window locked. There is also the poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas”, that depicts Santa going through the chimney. People leaving milk and cookies out is said to date back to The Great Depression. At the time parents hoped to teach their kids to give selflessly to others.

Since the beginning of Santa’s career, people have continued to display his legacy to generations that come after them. Although Santa Claus is a fictitious character, he has given much joy, magic, and meaning to Christmas time.