The Real Story Behind Santa Claus
The Santa Claus that my husband and I are teaching our little guy about is the Santa who is decked out in red and white, has a hearty laugh, reindeer as co-pilots, and gives out presents galore. But do you know what's believed to be the real story of Santa?
The legend of Santa Claus is one that has evolved over time. Many people wonder if Santa was a real man, and in fact, he was. Virtually all historians agree that our modern day Santa is based on Saint Nicholas of Myra, a very real man.
While the life history of Nicholas of Myra’s life is a bit murky, historians believe that he lived in Myra (hence his name), which is now located in Turkey, and that he helped a lot of people in need.
One of the most popular stories is that Saint Nicholas threw sacks of gold into the window of a poor man who didn't have the means to pay up on his daughters' dowries. Saint Nick's actions saved the girl from having to go to work in a brothel, which saved the family's honor. It was from that one simple act of kindness that the folk tale of Saint Nick as a man who gives presents to the good got started.
Santa Claus was born from the real life history of Saint Nicholas, with his name change and the stories of sleigh rides in the sky and squeezing down chimneys added on by various cultures. I guess that pretty much everyone who celebrated Santa Claus wanted to add a little bit to his story.
So, what might have real-life Saint Nicholas looked like? Liverpool University thinks that they have the answer and they think his nose was broken, which caused it to heal in an asymmetrical manner. See the photo here.
In an interesting twist- while the story of the real Saint Nicholas is a nice one, some people think he might have been a bit of a rebel and that Santa wasn't created to encourage kids to be on their best behavior, but rather to keep adults in line which is pretty interesting...