In the spirit of the season, we thought we would do a little write up on the Saint that inspired Santa Claus. A very real figure from ancient history, Saint Nicholas absolutely deserves a spot on the Featured Alpha list. Here are some facts to impress your friends this Christmas season.
1. He lived from March 270 until December 6, 343.
2. He was of Greek descent and is known as Saint Nicholas of Myra.
3. He is the patron saint of sailors, prostitutes, unmarried people, thieves, archers, brewers and even pawnbrokers. Sounds like our kind of guy!
4. An early story of Saint Nicholas tells of him saving 3 girls from prostitution by placing sacks of gold coins in their room for several consecutive nights. Enough for their father to pay a dowry.
5. After his wealthy parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor.
6. Saint Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift giving. One act was placing coins in shoes when they were left out for him. This evolved into the Dutch “Sinterklaas.”
7. Eventually, Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch stories and such, Saint Nicholas’s inspiration to modern day Santa Claus is linked to his history of secretive gift giving.
8. Until Martin Luther tried to put more attention on Christ versus the Saints, children were often left gifts the night before Nicholas’s reported death (December 6). This was eventually moved to Christmas day but the folklore of Saint Nicholas remained popular and never wavered.