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The Legend of Saint Nick

Is Santa Claus Real?
The Legend of Saint Nick

Is Santa Claus Real? You probably haven’t asked yourself this question since about second grade. Santa Claus, the person whom kids believe to bring them gifts and joy on Christmas day was, in fact, a real person.  All children love Santa but once they’ve grown older, he starts to become a cheesy myth. According to these origin stories, he was more than that! Let’s take a look at some different stories about the real-life Santa Claus, as they are quite unique.

There was once a monk named Saint Nicholas who was born in A.D. 280 in Patara, Turkey. Many miracles were attributed to Saint Nicholas of Pitara. Early stories tell of him calming a storm at sea, saving three innocent soldiers from wrongful execution, and chopping down a tree possessed by a demon. He was also generous and popular for his kindness and caring nature. It was rumored that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled all across the world to help the poor and the sick. As he got more popular, he was known as the “Protector of Children and Sailors.” One of the most popular stories about him is when he saved three poor girls from being enslaved by getting them all a husband. He died on December 6, which was then considered the luckiest day to get married or make large purchases. 

Another story about our beloved Santa Claus started in the 4th century. The legend of Saint Nicholas of Myra tells about a bishop in a small town in Rome. Because of the many miracles he is said to have performed, he was also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. He was the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children, brewers, unmarried people, and students. His reputation evolved throughout Europe along with his legendary habit of secret gift-giving which gave rise to the traditional idea of Saint Nick that we have today. When Saint Nicholas of Myra died, he was buried at the church of Myra on December 6, A.D. 343, which was then made a holiday when people feast.

Most Santa stories agree that Saint Nick was praised for his kindness toward the poor and oppressed. Saint Nicholas may also have been a wealthy shipping master, who freely gave money to orphans and widows, especially those married to sailors and widowed by the treacherous seas.  Another legend based on a story from the Dutch, Sinterklaas, tells of how Santa saved girls from lives of poverty by throwing gold coins down their chimneys to provide dowries for them so that they would have a chance to marry. 

As time goes on, historians still question if Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus was a real person or maybe a collection of stories about various Saints and do-gooders that morphed into the generous and jolly Santa we know today. Either way, whether or not you believe in Santa Claus, he will probably always be a mystery. It is ok if you believe in Santa, as he is a symbol of good and generosity and Santa has given us a chance to celebrate a Merry Christmas and New Year’s! 


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  • E

    EliaDec 16, 2023 at 3:24 am

    It’s always fun and interesting to see the origin stories of different famous figures, and holidays. Reading this gives me a better understanding of the traditions of the world’s most popular holiday.

  • K

    KeahiDec 15, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    I didn’t know this til now!

  • C

    Cyrus Aaron-ForceDec 15, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    I honestly thought it was just some random story. It’s always cool to see where the myths and legends we believe come from

  • E

    Elissa-Kaitlyn GoldDec 14, 2023 at 1:15 am

    I remember learning about Saint Nick. I was unaware of how many versions there were of him, growing up I was told that he used to give to the homeless as they lay their socks out.

  • E

    Eldrich PagaranDec 13, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you for explaining Saint Nicholas and how he was similar to Santa Claus. He seemed like a great person who cared for the world, but I think I like Santa better because he had reindeer.