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(OPINION) Is Santa Claus real? While that’s a question many children ask around this time of year, it’s one that doesn’t have an easy answer.
Why? See, Santa Claus was once real in the form of Saint Nicholas. Before there were mall Santas and sidewalk Santas and lots of ho ho ho-ing, there was Nicholas, an early Christian bishop who hailed from the Greek maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor in what is present-day Turkey. Although little is known about him, Nicholas lived from the year 270 until his death in 343.
Return - Pilgrimage - Egypt - Nicholas - Bishop
It was upon a return from a pilgrimage to Egypt that Nicholas was named Bishop of Myra and later imprisoned during the reign of Roman emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians. Nicholas of Myra was eventually released following the accession of Constantine, who converted to Christianity.
Historical records reveal that Nicholas attended the First Council of Nicaea in 325, although he is never mentioned in any writings by those at the council. Legends about the man, primarily written centuries later, involved gift-giving and incredible acts of charity.
People - Connection - Evolution - Saint - Nicholas
So many people are unaware of the connection, evolution really, of Saint Nicholas into Santa Claus and the religious as well as secular forces that led to this change over the course of centuries. These Christmastime changes began in Europe and were brought over to the United States by settlers. The result was a new global tradition that has its roots in 19th century literature and 20th century advertising.
It all began, however, in the early Christian church. Gerry Bowler, author of Santa Claus: A Biography and The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, said the transformation from Nicholas to Santa took many centuries....
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