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Who Was Santa Claus?



The real person that became Santa Claus and his history and who he is the patron saint of:


Santa in the Snow History has it that Santa Claus was a real person from the 4th Century. But who was Santa Claus? Nicholas was born in Patara village and then lived in Byzantine Lycia which is now part of modern Turkey. His parents were wealthy and they died when Nicholas was still young. They had brought him up as a strict Christian and he kept his beliefs into his adult life. Part of his faith was his belief in giving away his personal fortune and he was well known for secret gift giving and his acts of kindness and charity to the poor, sick and needy.


The Real Father Christmas


He was a Bishop of Myra in Asia and in death became Saint Nicholas or St Nic. He died on the 6th December in the year 343. He is buried in the Cathedral Church of Nicaea where he was on the Council.


He became the patron Saint to many types of people because of his acts of compassion when he was alive. For example he was imprisoned by Roman Emperor Diocletian because of his Christian beliefs, so he is now the patron Saint of prisoners.


He helped a family of poor sisters from becoming prostitutes by leaving bags of gold in their stockings on consecutive nights. This enabled them to give their husband a gift of money which was the tradition in those days. He managed to do this in secret by throwing the money through an open window and good fortune has it that the coins landed in the daughters stockings. This is also where the tradition of hanging stockings on Christmas Eve came from.

In life he loved the company of children and that is why he is the patron Saint of children.




Over the Centuries Saint Nicholas has been corrupted to say the words Santa Claus.


Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children, sailors, prostitutes, archers, students, pharmacists, charities, merchants, pawnbrokers, lawyers, prisoners and is the patron Saint of Russia, Greece and the City of Amsterdam.




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The reason that St Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers is that he lent, or rather gave, the gift of money to the father to save his daughters honour. St Nicholas was generous and performed many acts of charity. Though pawnbrokers loan money to people in need for their own profit, they do help people in their times of need. The three balls that is the sign of a pawnbroker represents the three bags of coins thrown into the Christmas stockings of the three daughters.


The relics (the remains) of Saint Nicholas were entombed in Myra in Asia Minor (now Turkey) until 1087 when a fleet from Bari stole the bones from his tomb and took them to Bari. A few years later, in 1100, it is also said that some Italians also broke into St Nicholas’ tomb and stole the bones and took them back to Venice.

It is generally considered that the bones of St Nicholas rest in Bari. Tiny shards of his bones are given to churches that bear his name throughout the world.


More Xmas trivia questions.

The Other Names of Santa


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