Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

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Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Who is Santa claus (other faces of him or better from Saint Nicholas) an how came he to the USA.

The Many Faces of Santa



\"He had a broad face and a round little belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly,
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself\"
Clement Moore, \"A Visit from St. Nicholas\"


On the night before Christmas, all across the world, millions of children will be tucked in their beds while \"visions of sugarplums dance in their heads.\" When they awake they will check their stockings to see if Santa Claus has come.
Santa Claus has become the most beloved of Christmas symbols and traditions. The image of the jolly old elf flying in a sleigh pulled by reindeers and leaving toys and gifts for every child is know worldwide.

The history of Santa Claus begins with a man called Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, in what is now Turkey. Saint Nicholas was know for his charity and wisdom. Legends tell of him coming from a wealthy family and giving all his money to the poor. He also was said to posses magical powers. He died in 340 AD and was buried in Myra.

Late in the 11th century religious soldiers from Italy took the remains of the saint back with them to Italy. They built a church in honor of him in the town of Bari, a port town in southern Italy. Soon Christian pilgrims from all over the world came to visit the church of Saint Nicholas. These pilgrims took the legend of Saint Nicholas back to their native lands. As the legend of Saint Nicholas spread it would take on the characteristics of each country.

In Europe during the 12th century Saint Nicholas Day became a day of gift giving and charity. Germany, France, and Holland celebrated December 6th as a religious holiday and gave gifts to their children and the poor.

When the Dutch colonists traveled to America, they brought with them their Sinterklaas, an austere bishop who wore a red bishop's costume and rode on a white horse.

The American image of Sinterklaas would gradually evolve into that of a jolly old elf. He was first described as a plump and jolly old Dutchman by Washington Irving in his comic History of New York. In 1823 Sinterklaas/Saint Nicholas' metamorphosis continued with the publication of Clement Moore's poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas (Twas the night before Christmas...).

In the 1860s cartoonist Thomas Nast drew pictures of a plump and kindly Santa Claus for the illustrated Harper's Weekly. This image of Santa Claus was becoming ingrained in the minds of the American people. As time went on this image of Santa Claus traveled across the globe, back to Europe, to South America, and elsewhere.

Many countries have kept their own customs and traditions of Saint Nicholas. In some cultures Saint Nicholas travels with an assistant to help him. In Holland, Sinterklaas sails in on a ship arriving on December 5th. He carries a big book which tells him how the Dutch children have behaved during the past year. Good children are rewarded with gifts and the bad ones are taken away by his assistant, Black Peter. (zwarte piet, but the black peter don't do that anymore in the past het did)

In Germany Saint Nicholas also travels with an assistant, known as Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus, or Pelzebock, and comes with a sack on his back and a rod in his hand. Good children receive a gift, but naughty children are punished by the assistant with a few hits of the rod.

In Italy La Befana is good witch who dresses all in black and brings gifts to children on the Epiphany, January 6th. In many Spanish countries; Spain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and South America, the children wait for the Three Kings to bring their Christmas gifts.

In France Father Christmas or Pere Noel bring gifts for the children. Switzerland has the Christkindl or Christ Child who bears gifts. In some towns children await the Holy Child and in others Christkindl is a girl-angel who comes down from heaven bearing gifts.

The Scandinavian countries celebrate with an elf, called the julenisse or the juletomte who bears gifts. And in England Father Christmas, an more austere and thinner version of Santa Claus, brings gifts.

In North American it is the round and plump \"Ho Ho Ho'ing\" Santa Claus who flies in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeers delivering toys to the children of the world.

In The netherland is it that we gain gifts at 5 december sint nicholaas, but we don't have holiday then :( (the small children have a day free). When it is christmas we don't have santa claus, but we have a christmas tree and things like that , and naturally some gifts but less than 5 dec.
In the past we did it so my parents did the sint nicholaas gifts and my grandparents the christmas once.
 

I love stars

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Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Sinterklaas


The Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, is an annual event which has been uniquely Dutch and Flemish for centuries. St. Nicholas' Feast Day, December 6th, is observed in most Roman Catholic countries primarily as a feast for small children. But it is only in the Low Countries - especially in the Netherlands - that the eve of his feast day (December 5th) is celebrated nationwide by young and old, christian and non-christian, and without any religious overtones.
Although Sinterklaas is always portrayed in the vestments of the bishop he once was, his status as a canonized saint has had little to do with the way the Dutch think of him. Rather, he is a kind of benevolent old man, whose feast day is observed by exchanging gifts and making good-natured fun of each other. It so happens that the legend of St. Nicholas is based on historical fact. He did actually exist. He lived from 271 A.D. to December 6th, 342 or 343. His 4th century tomb in the town of Myra, near the city of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, has even been dug up by archaeologists.

This is his story:
Born of a wealthy family, Nicholas was brought up as a devout Christian. When his parents died of an epidemic, he distributed his wealth among the poor and became a priest.
Later he became Archbishop of Myra, and it is from here that the fame of his good deeds began to spread across the Mediterranean. Desperate sailors who called upon the Good Bishop to calm stormy seas were heard; prison walls crumbled when victims of persecution prayed to him. He saved young children from the butcher's knife and dropped dowries into the shoes of penniless maidens. Over time, St. Nicholas became the patron saint of sailors and merchants, and especially of children. After his death, the cult of St. Nicholas spread rapidly via southern Italy throughout the rest of the Mediterranean and eventually to coastal towns along the Atlantic and the North Sea. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Holland built no fewer than 23 churches dedicated to St. Nicholas, many of which are still standing. Amsterdam adopted St. Nicholas as its patron saint, and Rome decreed that December 6th, the anniversary of his death, should be his official Feast Day.
St. Nicholas' strong influence in the Low Countries - an area heavily engaged in trade and navigation - was primarily due to his role as patron of sailors and merchants.
However, his fame as protector of children soon took precedence.
In the 14th century, choir boys of St. Nicholas churches were given some money and the day off on December 6th.
Somewhat later, the pupils of convent schools would be rewarded or punished by a monk dressed up as the Good Bishop, with his long white beard, his red mantle and mitre (bishop's hat) and his golden crosier (bishop's staff) - just as he is still presented today.

All Dutch children know that Sinterklaas (the name is a corruption of Sint Nikolaas) lives in Spain. Exactly why he does remains a mystery, but that is what all the old songs and nursery rhymes say. Whatever the case may be, in Spain he spends most of the year recording the behaviour of all children in a big red book, while his helper Black Peter stocks up on presents for next December 5th. In the first weeks of November, Sinterklaas gets on his white horse, Peter (\"Piet\") swings a huge sack full of gifts over his shoulder, and the three of them board a steamship headed for the Netherlands. Around mid-November they arrive in a harbour town - a different one every year - where they are formally greeted by the Mayor and a delegation of citizens. Their parade through town is watched live on television by the whole country and marks the beginning of the \"Sinterklaas season\".

The old bishop and his helpmate are suddenly everywhere at once. At night they ride across Holland's' rooftops and Sinterklaas listens through the chimneys to check on the children's behaviour. Piet jumps down the chimney flues and makes sure that the carrot or hay the children have left for the horse in their shoes by the fireplace is exchanged for a small gift or some candy. During the day, Sinterklaas and Piet are even busier, visiting schools, hospitals, department stores, restaurants, offices and many private homes. Piet rings doorbells, scatters sweets through the slightly opened doors and leaves basketfuls of presents by the front door. How do they manage to be all over the Netherlands at once?

This is thanks to the so-called \"hulp-Sinterklazen\", or Sinterklaas helpers, who dress up like the bishop and Black Peter and help them perform their duties. Children who become wise to these simultaneous \"Sint-sightings\" are told that since Sinterklaas cannot indeed be in two places at once, he gets a little help from his uncanonized friends.

The Dutch are busy too - shopping for, and more importantly, making presents. Tradition demands that all packages be camouflaged in some imaginative way, and that every gift be accompanied by a fitting poem. This is the essence of Sinterklaas: lots of fun on a day when people are not only allowed, but expected, to make fun of each other in a friendly way. Children, parents, teachers, employers and employees, friends and co-workers tease each other and make fun of each others' habits and mannerisms.?
Another part of the fun is how presents are hidden or disguised. Recipients often have to go on a treasure hunt all over the house, aided by hints, to look for them. They must be prepared to dig their gifts out of the potato bin, to find them in a jello pudding, in a glove filled with wet sand, in some crazy dummy or doll. Working hard for your presents and working even harder to think up other peoples' presents and get them ready is what the fun is all about.??

The original poem accompanying each present is another old custom and a particularly challenging one. Here the author has a field day with his subject (the recipient of the gift). Foibles, love interests, embarrassing incidents, funny habits and well-kept secrets are all fair game. The recipient, who is the butt of the joke, has to open his/her package in public and read the poem aloud amid general hilarity. The real giver is supposed to remain anonymous because all presents technically come from Sinterklaas, and recipients say out loud \"Thank you, Sinterklaas!\", even if they no longer believe in him.

Towards December 5th, St. Nicholas poems pop up everywhere in the Netherlands: in the press, in school, at work and in both Houses of Parliament.
On the day of the 5th, most places of business close a bit earlier than normal. The Dutch head home to a table laden with the same traditional sweets and baked goods eaten for St. Nicholas as shown in the 17th-century paintings of the Old Masters. Large chocolate letters - the first initial of each person present - serve as place settings. They share the table along with large gingerbread men and women known as \"lovers\". A basket filled with mysterious packages stands close by and scissors are at hand. Early in the evening sweets are eaten while those gathered take turns unwrapping their gifts and reading their poems out loud so that everyone can enjoy the impact of the surprise. The emphasis is on originality and personal effort rather than the commercial value of the gift, which is one reason why Sinterklaas is such a delightful event for young and old alike.?


It were the Dutch settlers who brought St. Nicholas over to
New Amsterdam - USA. (Nieuw Amsterdam now it's New York)





THE TRUE STORY OF SANTA CLAUS
NOTE: Dit is niet het verhaal over sinterklaas... dit is hoe de kerstman is ontstaan!
If we should wake on the sixth of December and find our stockings full of candy and toys we should think that the ruddy old fellow who comes down the chimney has lost his wits and arrived about three weeks too soon. But his arrival would seem exactly on time to children in other parts of the world. For the feast of Saint Nicholas is the sixth of December, and how he became the patron saint of the day of the Saint of saints, the Christ ? Child, is a story.

It is the story of a story. And when we say that it is true we shall remember that truth lives in the region of dreams. We shall be true to a glorious legend and to the way that legend has come down to us. Truth here consists in knowing that Santa Claus does come down the chimney and fills our stockings. If we do not believe that truth, we are lost souls and beauty and poetry, the only real truth, means nothing.

Nicholas was an actual person. Though he is the most popular saint in the calendar, not excepting St. Christopher and St. Francis, we know little about the man to whom so many lovely deeds, human and miraculous, have been ascribed. He was bishop of Myra, in Lycia, Asia Minor, in the first part of the fourth century of the Christian era. Asia Minor is far away from reindeer and Santa Claus, but the world of faith and fable is small and ideas travel far if they have centuries of time for their journey round the world. And Asia Minor is the cradle of all Christian ideas.

From the day of his birth Nicholas revealed his piety and grace. He refused on fast-days to take the natural nourishment of a child. He was the youngest bishop in the history of the church. He was persecuted and imprisoned with many other Christians during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian, and was released and honoured when Constantine the Great established the Christian Church as the official religion, or at least recognised the Christian Church as the official religion, or at least recognised and encouraged it. Under Constantine in 325, was held the first general Council of the Christians at Nicaea, where many important matters were decided. These matters belong to theology and are not in our picture, but Nicholas may have had a hand, as vigorous hand in them. One of the arguers who seemed to Nicholas, and to the later orthodox church, a dangerous heretic so roused th4 righteous ire of the saint that Nicholas smote him in the jaw. This is one of the first episodes in militant Christianity.

About two hundred years after his death Nicholas was a great figure in Christian Legend, and Justinian, the last powerful Roman emperor in the East, built a church in honour of St. Nicholas in Constantinople. But the bones of the saint were not allowed to rest in peace in his home town, Muyra, where he was properly buried. About seven hundred years after his death, in the eleventh century, what remained of the earthly Nicholas was dug up and moved to the city of Bari, in Italy. In its day it was one of many important seaports that dominated Mediterranean traffic. The merchants of Bari organised a predatory expedition to the burial place of Nicholas, stole the bones, reburied them in Bari and built a church which was long an objective for religious pilgrims and is still worth the travel of a lover of art and architecture. The city of Venice, not to be out done by a rival maritime town, also claims to enshrine the bones of the saint.

So the curious tourist may take his choice. The bones are dust, wherever they lie. The churches in Bari and many cities of Europe still stand; there are more than four hundred dedicated to Nicholas in England. More important, the spirit of the saint is alive throughout the Christian world.

Nicholas was not a bare-foot recluse vowed to poverty. His father was a wealthy merchant, and his riches, inherited or created by the magic wand which fairy-godfathers wield, enabled him to be a dispenser of good things of life, an earthly representative of the Supreme Giver of gifts.

The most famous episode in his long career of benevolence is his rescue of the three dowerless maidens. An impoverished nobleman had three daughters who he was about to send into a life of shame. Nicholas heard of the tragic situation and at night threw a purse of gold into the house. This furnished the dowry for the eldest daughter, and she was married.

After a little while, says the Golden Legend, which is the great medieval story of the saints, his holy hermit of God ?threw in another mass of gold? and that provided a dowry for the second daughter. ?And after a few days Nicholas doubled the mass of gold and cast it into the house?. So the third daughter was endowed. The happy father, wishing to know his benefactor, ran after Nicholas and recognised him, but the holy man ?required him not to tell nor discover this thing as long as he lived?.

Thus Nicholas became not only the generous giver but the special patron saint of maidenhood and was so known and celebrated throughout the Middle Ages. Dant? speaks in three short lines, as if he assumed that everybody already knew the story, of the generosity of Nicholas to maidens, ?to lead their youth to honour?. The Italian painters made much of this story. A fine pictorial representation of it is the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City. It is one of those dramatic paintings in which the old artists told a really moving tale long before the days of the camera and the moving picture. Inside the house you see the three distressed daughters and the still more dejected and ragged father. Outside is Nicholas climbing up at the door in the act of throwing the purse through a little window.

The story takes what seems an almost humorous turn. Let us imagine three purses of ?masses? of gold. We recognise them, in conventional form, in the three gold balls over the pawnbroker?s shop. Thus the holy man of the early Christian Church presides symbolically over a business which throughout Europe during the Middle Ages was conducted largely though not exclusively by members of the older Jewish Church. Pawnbroking included all forms of banking and money-lending with personal movable property as security. At first glance it does not seem quite appropriate that the charitable benevolent saint should become associated with a business, long notorious for exaction and usury, which the Mosaic Law forbade and which the derivative Christian morality condemned. One of the earliest acts of Christ was the expulsion of money-lenders from the temple: he ?overthrew the tables of the money changers? and scourged forth others who bought and sold.

But it may well be that the bankers and brokers wished to give sanctity and dignity to their business and so adopted the generous Nicholas as their heavenly protector. Every profession, guild, trade or, more likely, there was not much deliberate choice, these assimilations of legend to fact simply happened, nobody knows just how. Nicholas was adopted not only by the more or less respectable brokers but by thieves and pirates. The sinner as well as the honest man had his heavenly benefactor. And it is no more strange in the history of mythology that Nicholas should have been invoked by thieves than that the Greek Roman God Mercury should have been the tutelary deity of robbers and tricksters.

Nicholas was the patron of all who went down to the sea in ships, whether bound on a predatory cruise or a military expedition or an errand of peaceful trade. The distinctions were not always clear in fact or theory. There are many stories of his having rescued sailors from shipwreck. It is written in the Roman Breviary, which is the ?official account?, that ?in his youth on a sea voyage he saved the ship from a fearful storm?. Greek and Russian sailors appeal to him for protection and carry in the cabin of ships an image of the saint with a perpetually burning lamp. It is in accordance with the spirit of Christianity and other religions that a drowning man needs help, no matter what the moral purpose of his voyage through life may have been up to the hour of disaster.

Nicholas, however, was a dispenser of justice, according to the ideas of justice that prevailed when the stories about him grew up and took shape. One curious story of his judgment as patron of money-lending and trade reveals the attitude of those who made the story; it shows the somewhat confused relations between Jew and Gentile, relations familiarised for us by the story of Shylock. The tale is told in the Golden Legend, translated by Caxton, the father of English printing and a tireless interpreter of foreign books into our English tongue. I change a little Caxton?s words, which are not quite modern in form and construction:

?There was a man who had borrowed of a Jew a sum of money and swore upon the altar of St. Nicholas that he would pay it back, as soon as he could, and gave no other pledge, The man kept the money so long that the Jew demanded payment. And the man said that he had paid. Then the Jew summoned the debtor into court. The debtor brought a hollow staff to the Jew to hold. Then he swore that he had given the Jew more than he owed and asked the J4ew to give him back the staff. The Jew, not suspecting the trickery, gave the staff back to the debtor who took it and went away. Sleep overcame him and he lay down in the road. A cart ran over him and killed him and broke the staff so that the gold rolled out. When the Jew heard this he came and saw the fraud. Many people said to him that he should take the gold. But he refused saying that if the dead man were brought to life again by the power of St. Nicholas, he would take the money and become a Christian. So the dead man arose, and the Jew was Christened?.

Thus the ends of justice were served and everybody was happy.

The most important role of Nicholas to us at the present time is his patronage of schoolboys, for this brings him close to us as Santa Claus, the bearer of gifts and the special saint of childhood. He was himself the Boy Bishop. A famous story of him is that of his bringing to life three boys. On their way home, the tale runs, the boys stopped at a farmhouse. The farmer and his wife murdered them, cut their bodies in pieces and put them into casks used for pickling meat. St. Nicholas arrived, charged the murderers with their crime and caused the boys to rise from the casks fully restored. That is one reason, so far as there are many reason in fable, why schoolboys celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas on December sixth.

Intimately connected with the feast of Nicholas was the custom of electing a Boy Bishop for a limited number of days extending just over Christmas. To get something of the spirit of the ceremony and celebration we have only to think of a modern game played in New York and other American cities in which a boy is elected mayor for a day with a full staff of subordinate juvenile officials. The motive of the modern custom is to teach youths civic virtue, public service and patriotism. The motive underlying the Boy Bishop was partly religious, partly childish love of pranks and parody, and partly a sort of democratic rebellion, tolerated for a short period each year against constituted authority.

The Boy Bishop was dressed in handsome robes like a real bishop, and he and his companions led a mock solemn parade and in some cities actually took possession of the churches. There was much feasting, the way to a boys heart being through his stomach as well as through gaudy garments; and there was on the part of elder participants a good deal of drinking. On the whole it was a charming and innocent affair. The boys took it seriously enough, especially the supper which concluded the performance. As early as the first part of the tenth century Conrad I, King of Germany, described a visit to a monastery when the revels were at their height. He was amused especially by the procession of the children, so grave and sedate that even Conrad ordered his followers to throw apples down the aisle, the Children did not lose their gravity.

But these high jinks too near to sacred things met with opposition and censure. Ecclesiastical and civil authority shut down on the Boy Bishops and parades and ceremonies in one country after another. Grown people are not always profoundly wise about either the fooling or the intense seriousness of children. The Roman Catholic Church in the middle of the fifteenth century tried to suppress by edict the Boy Bishop and all the customs relating to him. In England, where this childish festival prevailed not only in the cathedral cities but in the small towns, the Protestant Reformation applied a depressing hand, and Queen Elizabeth, whose own court was gay with revelries, masques, interludes, finally abolished the Boy Bishop.

Childhood, however, has its revenges upon the interfering adult. With the aid of the conniving adult who refuses to grow up, Nicholas remained the saint of children. In some countries his festival was taken over, assimilated to Christmas, partly because St. Nicholas Day is so near to Christmas and partly because in some parts of the world there arose a sort of Protestant hostility to the worship of saints. But custom and amusement prevail even when religion and history are forgotten and ignored. To cite another example as familiar as Christmas, on the evening of the last day of October children bob apples, make pumpkin jack-o?-lantern, and play all kinds of tricks to pester innocent neighbours. They call the occasion Halloween, but few of them or their neighbours know that \"hallow\" means saint, and that the first of November is All Saints? Day.

So it is with Nicholas. He is honoured and accepted with a kind of childish ignorance. Professor George H. McKnight of Ohio State University, who has given us the best account in English of the good St. Nicholas, begins his book by saying that strangely little is known of him in America. But he belongs to us by a very special inheritance. Our Dutch ancestors in New York ? ancestry is a matter of tradition, not of blood ? brought St. Nicholas over to New Amsterdam. The English colonists borrowed him from their Dutch neighbours. The Dutch form is San Nicolaas. If we say that rather fast with a stress on the broad double ? A of the last syllable, a D or a T slips in after the N and we get ?Sandyclaus? or ?Santa Claus?. And our American children are probably the only ones in the world who say it just that way; indeed the learned, and very British, Encyclopedia Britannica calls our familiar form ?an American corruption? of the Dutch. I suspect, however, that we should hear something very like it from the lips of children in Holland and Germany; in parts of southern Germany the word in sound, and I think spelling, is ?santiklos?.

However, that may be, America owes the cheery saint of Christmas to Holland and Germany. In Belgium and Holland the festival of the saint is still observed on his birthday, December sixth, and the jollities and excitements are much the same as those we enjoy at Christmas, with some charming local variations. Saint Nicholas is not the merry fellow with a chubby face and twinkling eye, but retains the gravity appropriate to a venerable bishop. He rides a horse or an ass instead of driving a team or reindeer. He leaves his gifts in stockings, shoes or baskets. And for children who have been very naughty, and whose parents cannot give him a good account of them, he leaves a rod by way of admonition, for he is a highly moral saint, though kind and forgiving. If the parents are too poor to buy gifts, the children say ruefully that the saint?s horse has glass legs and has fallen down and broken his foot. The horse or ass of St. Nicholas is not forgotten; the children leave a wisp of hay for him, and in the morning it is gone.

As with us, the older people have their own festivities, suppers, exchange of gifts, surprises. But also as with our Christmas; the feast of Nicholas is primarily a day for Children.

Where did Santa Claus get his reindeer? And how did the grave saint become that gnome-like fat fellow, with nothing ecclesiastic about him, so vividly described in Clement Moore?s famous poem, \"Twas the night before Christmas?\" The answers to these questions are only provisional, matters of conjecture.

Notice that in Moore?s poem, the form Santa Claus does not appear. The title of the poem is ?A visit from St. Nicholas?, and in the verses the visitor is St. Nicholas and ?Saint Nick?. The verses were written in the first half of the last century. The author was a distinguished biblical scholar and professor in the General Theological Seminary in New York. In these verses he was writing not as a scholar but as a jolly human being, the father of a family taking a day off from serious studies. His verses must represent the idea of Santa Claus that prevailed in his time, and long before his time in New York and far outside New York for they spread all over the country, are still reprinted every year.

Now in this delightful jingling poem there is not a touch of religion. The ?jolly old elf? has not the slightest resemblance to a reverend saint. And there is no suggestion, except in the word Christmas, of any connection in thought or spirit with what is, excepting possibly Easter, the most sacred day in the whole Christian year. And similarly we may observe in our time many a Christmas party run its course without any participants giving a thought to a birth in a manager from which our year is dated. So Santa Claus is strangely different from his pious namesake and also in some places and among some people estranged from the very religious occasion to which he is attached.

But in some parts in America where the people are of Dutch or German descent there is a charming alliance between Santa Claus and the Christ Child. It came about in this way. Some parts of Germany after the feast of St. Nicholas had been moved forward and identified with Christmas it was felt that the real patron of the day, the true giver of gifts, should be Christ himself. This feeling probably arose from the Protestant objection to the worship of saints. So St. Nicholas was deposed from power; gradually, not by any sudden revolution, he disappeared in some places, from the customs long associated with him. But the customs remained. On Christmas Eve there were gifts of sweets and toys for good children. Or they put bowls in the window, and behold, in the morning they found that the window pane has been taken out during the night and gifts laid in the bowls.

The bringer of these gifts was not St. Nicholas but the Christ Child, in popular German, Kris Kringle. But among the German people in America, the legend of Santa Claus still survived, and so Kris Kringle is a combination of Santa Claus and the Christ Child.

This combination gives us an inkling of what happened in the whole story of Christmas from earliest times, Santa Claus, the merry elf, is not Christian at all, but pagan, coming down from times earlier than the Christian era or at least earlier than the times when the Tuetonic people were Christianized. He belongs to popular fairyland, the land of elves, gnomes, spirits, hobgoblins. In countless fairy tales there are good spirits and evil spirits. The evil spirits haunt the woods and molest innocent people. The good spirits aid the poor, bring gifts in the night, rescue princess? in distress and so on.

These stories are not originally of Christian origin. They may not be definitely part of any of the religion which Christianity supplanted. Associated with them are popular festivals and ceremonies. It may well be that the apples in our Christmas stockings are the descendants of apples that grew on very old trees, trees older than history, perhaps there was a late harvest festival, or a kind of pagan Thanksgiving, presided over by a beneficent elf, and accompanied by candling and feasting. We do not know.

But we do know that as Christianity developed, the Church encouraged all the popular customs, or many of them, took them over and associated them with Christian holidays. This may have been a deliberate attempt of the priests to win the favour of the people and make the new religion really popular, or the people may have made the transfer themselves by the vague and untraceable but very real process of folk-poetry.

Now where did Santa Claus get his reindeer? There are no reindeer in Germany and probably never were, certainly not the kind that are broken to harness like horses. And oddly enough the reindeer does not appear in any of the surviving Christmas legends and customs in old Germany. The reindeer first paws the roof of American houses. But of course, he cannot be an American animal.

The explanation, one explanation, is this:

There are reindeer in northern Scandinavia where they have been domesticated from time immemorial. Scandinavian and German legends and mythology are closely related. The old German gods come from the north and many German folk-tales are of Scandinavian origin. The reindeer of our Santa Claus certainly came from Lapland, and Santa is an arctic explorer, exploring the other way: Dr. Moore, with true poetic imagination, describes him as \"dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot\" not in the red flannel with which we are accustomed to clothe him. Among the Germans or Dutch who came to this country there must have been a legend of a Scandinavian Santa, and in German the reindeer inexplicably got lost. Perhaps their bones will be found in a German forest by one of the literary archaelogists who dig into such matters. But no, the bones will never be found, for the reindeer are still alive and fly over the house-tops.

The career of Santa Claus through the ages is as mysterious as his annual flight. One might suppose that he would have gone directly from Germany or Holland to their near neighbour England, as the Christmas tree was transplanted to England after the shortest possible journey. But there is every likelihood that Santa Claus, having become a good American colonist, recrossed the Atlantic in an English Ship ? or perhaps as the first transatlantic flyer. He has long been a well established figure in he Christmas customs and not only of the mother counry but in all parts of the British Empire. The allegiance of English Children, however, is divided. Some believe that Santa Claus brings them their presents. Others believe in Father Christmas, a more recent creation, whom English artists represent as an old gentleman in what seems to be a sort of eighteenth century costume with gaitered legs, a tail coat, and a squarish beaver hat.

It is rather strange that English Christmas customs are not more closely imitated by Americans. We know nothing of the yulelog, even in houses that have open fireplaces. Perhaps the reason that we borrowed little from the English Christmas is that the English who came to America, especially in New England, were not the merry-making kind; they would have abhorred the idea of making Christmas an occasion for mirth and happiness. They would have groaned at one pretty custom, which is inherited directly from England and which their less godly descendants indulge in on Beacon Hill in Boston ? the singing of carols in the streets on Christmas Eve. In all New England literature of the classical period there is scarcely a reference in prose or verse to Christmas, and that was the time when Dickens and Thackeray and other English writers, eagerly read in America, were giving the holiday new spirit and brightness in England.

Customs differ in different countries. A Russian coming from the country of which Nicholas is the chief saint would not at first sight understand our Santa Claus. He would see no relation between his saint before whose icon he bows and the figure in a red suit with a long white beard standing in front of a department store and doing his bit to keep a spirit of good cheer in the enormous American institution ? Christmas trade. An American tourist brought up as Protestant finding himself in an Italian city would look up in his guide-book an ornate Italian painting of St. Nicholas miraculously answering a prayer for help, and that tourist unless he had historical imagination might not realise the connection between the beautiful painting the angel on his last Christmas tree at home and the letter that he wrote as a boy asking Santa Claus to bring him a new sled.

Yet these connections do exist, and they are very important, for they are bonds that hold the world together and help to give its disparate parts and antagonistic faiths a human unification. No other saint and few other men embrance such a wide variety of benevolent ideas as St. Nicholas, with such duration in time and such extent throughout the Christian world. And he is probably the only serious figure in religious history in any way association with humour, with the spirit of fun. For he is the patron of giving. And it is fun to give.

 

Badmuts

New Member
Messages
9
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Wow that's quite a story stars :) I haven't had the time yet to read it all but at the first sight it seems pretty good ;) Do they also celebrate 5 december in America? Or is it only christmas? Hoping for a reply to this :)
 

I love stars

Junior Member
Messages
27
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Originally posted by Badmuts@Dec 25 2004, 09:51 PM
Wow that's quite a story stars :) I haven't had the time yet to read it all but at the first sight it seems pretty good ;) Do they also celebrate 5 december in America? Or is it only christmas? Hoping for a reply to this :)
Only christmas :p (I know it for 99,99% sure).
But I also think they don't have that much money. They give already 1000th of dolars out when it's christmas so they would be really out of money if they also give much money when it's Saint Nicholas.

In Netherland it's so.
- Sint nicholas cost much money but there's no tree or things so it's mostly the gifts. ( lets say 700-800 euro for gifts and some tax money :p) But if the children are 12 and older some people do only christmas or both.
- Christmas, we have a christmas tree some light (but verry less , most people say it's childish , to make your house , a light house, I think many people in USA are childish than :p :lol: ) We eat christmas eating and we get gifts (various from zero until much gifts).
-new year we buy much fire work and we eat oils bulge and freaked out apple.

So it start somewhere in Novembre and it ends at 2 january.

I've never believed in Santa Claus , I believed in Saint Nicholas until I ask my parents does he exist or not? They say what do you think? So I didn't believed anymore one I was 7. But my brother ( 1,5 years younger) did believe so I may acted and do things in the shoes. :)

Explaination why Santa Claus comes not in The Netherland ( for children who believe)
Sint Nicholaus and Santa Claus made a deal: in the area where Sint Nicholas comes Santa claus not and where Santa Claus comes, comes Saint Nicholas not.
 

CaryP

Senior Member
Messages
1,438
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

QUOTE(Badmuts @ Dec 25 2004, 09:51 PM)
Wow that's quite a story stars smile.gif I haven't had the time yet to read it all but at the first sight it seems pretty good wink.gif Do they also celebrate 5 december in America? Or is it only christmas? Hoping for a reply to this smile.gif
*


Only christmas tongue.gif (I know it for 99,99% sure).
But I also think they don't have that much money. They give already 1000th of dolars out when it's christmas so they would be really out of money if they also give much money when it's Saint Nicholas.

You're correct Denise in that only Christmas is celebrated here (Dec. 25) and there is no celebration of December 5th. 5 December has no meaning here. As to not having enough money, never underestimate the willingness of the American consumer to go deeper into debt in order to keep up appearances. LOL If there was a December 5th celebration here, I'm sure that Americans would spend for that one too.

Cary
 

I love stars

Junior Member
Messages
27
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Originally posted by CaryP@Dec 26 2004, 02:18 PM
QUOTE(Badmuts @ Dec 25 2004, 09:51 PM)
Wow that's quite a story stars smile.gif I haven't had the time yet to read it all but at the first sight it seems pretty good? wink.gif Do they also celebrate 5 december in America? Or is it only christmas? Hoping for a reply to this? smile.gif
*


Only christmas tongue.gif (I know it for 99,99% sure).
But I also think they don't have that much money. They give already 1000th of dolars out when it's christmas so they would be really out of money if they also give much money when it's Saint Nicholas.

You're correct Denise in that only Christmas is celebrated here (Dec. 25) and there is no celebration of December 5th. 5 December has no meaning here. As to not having enough money, never underestimate the willingness of the American consumer to go deeper into debt in order to keep up appearances. LOL If there was a December 5th celebration here, I'm sure that Americans would spend for that one too.

Cary

Yes, Americans are crazy :p

But what do you do with old and new , also fireworks and things like that?
 

CaryP

Senior Member
Messages
1,438
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Yes, Americans are crazy :p

But what do you do with old and new , also fireworks and things like that?

Crazy is one way of describing the vast majority of the American sheeple. Asleep at the wheel and in denial of reality is another. I'm not sure what you mean with your question about what we do with "old and new". What "old and new are you referring to? The individual use of fireworks is illegal in most cities because of the fire hazard. That doesn't stop people from driving into the countryside or smaller towns, buying fireworks where it's legal and using them where it's illegal. New Year's, Christmas and the 4th of July are all popular dates for illegal fireworks here in south Louisiana. The police usually don't enforce the ban on fireworks unless someone complains. New Orleans has a particularly dangerous tradition of firing bullets into the air to celebrate New Year's Eve. Just about every year that's at least a couple of people who are wounded or killed by falling bullets. Most larger cities have official fireworks displays for the 4th of July. I'm not sure about other parts of the country for the illegal version of fireworks on these dates.

Cary
 

ZeoEmeraude

Active Member
Messages
965
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Fireworks and good ole Saint Nick. What a combination. Personally I think that too many Americans are materialistic. The holidays aren't and I repeat aren't about money, presents, or keeping up with the Jones', it is about love, the birth of the Christ, and family. For those of you out there who are too shallow to see these facts, then I say may God have mercy on your souls. On another note, I love fireworks. Just being able to buy miniture bombs and set them off in front of cats makes me all giddy and warm inside. Here in Hotlanta, fireworks are illegal as well. But then again so is cocaine....ppl still buy the stuff, so who carez. Visualize the jumping cats...hehe, too funny.
 

I love stars

Junior Member
Messages
27
Saint Nicholas (sinterklaas) and Santa claus

Originally posted by ZeoEmeraude@Dec 26 2004, 07:00 PM
? ? Fireworks and good ole Saint Nick. What a combination. Personally I think that too many Americans are materialistic. The holidays aren't and I repeat aren't about money, presents, or keeping up with the Jones', it is about love, the birth of the Christ, and family. For those of you out there who are too shallow to see these facts, then I say may God have mercy on your souls. On another note, I love fireworks. Just being able to buy miniture bombs and set them off in front of cats makes me all giddy and warm inside. Here in Hotlanta, fireworks are illegal as well. But then again so is cocaine....ppl still buy the stuff, so who carez. Visualize the jumping cats...hehe, too funny.

Ok christmas is about love and a family time. it's a good christmas thought. my parents said to my that i didn't get gifts but I get one gift from them some smell ( if thats the right word, its from Tommy Hilfiger)and some money from my grandad. :)
I think that all humans are meterialistic but in USA (on movies :p and what I heart) it's really much.

and about the firework
New Year?s eve in Holland
Read/Add comment on this article >>

The grand finale of Holland?s December celebrations is New Year?s Eve. Many concerts and parties are organised throughout the country. However before midnight, the Dutch mostly celebrate New Year at home with family and friends. After 12 o?clock the real party begins with champagne, oliebollen (sweet traditional pastries) and impressive firework displays.


The Dutch traditionally celebrate the beginning of New Year with great firework displays. This breathtaking spectacle can be seen everywhere in Holland as soon as the clock strikes midnight. They are inextricably linked with New Year?s Eve and you will find half the population standing outside to send up firecrackers, jumping jacks, squibs and whiz-bangs! Pubs and clubs are open until very early in the morning (often 6 am).

DUTCH TRADITION
The Dutch tradition of firework displays derives from the 19th century, when the Dutch soldiers that served in the East Indies brought the Chinese fireworks back with them to Holland. Letting off fireworks became very popular after World War II. The story goes that some local Amsterdam people even stored a small canon in their lofts, which they used to set off fireworks.

Firework is legal from the morning (10am) of 31th december until 2 am 1 January. But we start (at least the people <21 or something) as soon we have firework. Some start shooting know we get the fire work 30 dec (very late) so we start then. We never take all our firework with us , because than all your firework is gone when you met a police agent.
If you want illigal firework (illegal for The Netherlands) you must go to Belgium - but we never do that :( , but some are dangerous.

but what's ole Saint Nick???

so it's
mid november-5 december Sinterklaas (saint Nicholaas)
(24) 25-26 dec. christmas and sometimes we make a third chrismas day 27 or an other.
31 oud jaar (old year) and 1 january ( new year)

My brother (13 year) is enthousiastic about the firework for weeks.

And when it's chrismas its family time and no computer time so we may only a half hour or so after the computer :(. But I didn't seen my grandad for 3 moths so .... But there wasn't a christmas tree :(.
 

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