The history of Santa Claus

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Where does Santa Claus come from?

Santa Claus, as we know him today, is based on a long history and was shaped by people, myths and legends, historical events as well as by companies.

Origin of Santa Claus

The origin of Santa Claus dates back to the legendary bishop Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century in the city of Myra, nowadays Demre in Turkey. He became known by his notable generosity towards the poor. It is said today, that he gave pieces of gold to a poor father of a family. Bishop Nicholas threw the gold pieces through the window, so that he was able to marry his daughter. The Santa Claus´characteristic, to bring gifts and presents, comes from the bishop Nicholas.
Santa Claus is punishing naughty children with his knout - that narration is borrowed from the Germanic mythology. In the Germanic legend, at the winter solstice Mother Holle is riding through the skies with the wild hunter, named Wode, while punishing humans for their bad deeds. In the distant past, people also celebrated Yule at the winter solstice. In order to prevent that heathen ritual, a pope put the Christmas Eve to December 24.
In the 19th century, the painter Moritz Schwind created the visible form and shape of Santa Claus in first place. The appearence of Santa Claus was inspired by the figure of the Winter within the round dance of the four seasons. The winter was always pictured as an old man with a long beard. Since then, Santa Claus is in this world as an old man with a long beard and a coat.

Santa Claus goes to America

Santa Claus did not have a uniform look yet in the beginning of the 20th century. He could be seen with blue, brown, red of golden coats. His height varied from dwarfishly small to vastly man-alike tal, which depended on the region as well as on the narrator´s or illustrator´s ideas and taste.

Santa back to the roots

The todays Santa Claus´ dress code was introduced by the swedish painter Haddon Sundblom to the beginning of the thirties of the 20th century. As a result of a Christmas commerical from the company Coca Cola Santa Claus received his clothes in the corporate colors red and white. Since then, coat and hood are white-furred. As once the character Santa Claus went to America with the emigrants, so his clothes returned from Amerika to Europe later on.
Nowadays, Santa Claus is the best-known symbol of Christmas season as a long-bearded man, wearing a white-furred red coat with a hood.