Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Man Behind the Story of Father Christmas/Santa Claus

St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century AD in a place called Myra in Asia Minor (now called Turkey). He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him a lot of money. He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people who needed it. There are several legends about St. Nicholas, although we don't know if any of them are true!

St NicholasImage from the St. Nicholas Center
www.stnicholascenter.org
The most famous story about St. Nicholas tells how the custom of hanging up stockings to get presents in first started! It goes like this:
There was a poor man who had three daughters. He was so poor, he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn't get married. (A dowry is a sum of money paid to the bridegroom by the brides parents on the wedding day. This still happens in some countries, even today.) One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house (This meant that the oldest daughter was then able to be married.). The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry! This was repeated later with the second daughter. Finally, determined to discover the person who had given him the money, the father secretly hid by the fire every evening until he caught Nicholas dropping in a bag of gold. Nicholas begged the man to not tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to bring attention to himself. But soon the news got out and when anyone received a secret gift, it was thought that maybe it was from Nicholas.
Because of his kindness Nicholas was made a Saint. St. Nicholas is not only the saint of children but also of sailors! One story tells of him helping some sailors that were caught in a dreadful storm off the coast of Turkey. The storm was raging around them and all the men were terrified that their ship would sink beneath the giant waves. They prayed to St. Nicholas to help them. Suddenly, he was standing on the deck before them. He ordered the sea to be calm, the storm died away, and they were able to sail their ship safely to port.
St. Nicholas was exiled from Myra and later put in prison during the persecution by the Emperor Diocletian. No one is really knows when he died, but it was on 6th December in either 345 or 352 AD. In 1087, his bones were stolen from Turkey by some Italian merchant sailors. The bones are now kept in the Church named after him in the Italian port of Bari. On St.Nicholas feast day (6th December), the sailors of Bari still carry his statue from the Cathedral out to sea, so that he can bless the waters and so give them safe voyages throughout the year.


14 comments:

  1. That was a cool story- especially the end...

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  2. I've read some of this information before, but not all of it. Thank you for gathering it.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yes I have heard some of it before myself

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  3. This was a fun and interesting read. I collect Santas so it's nice the know where the legend started. Boy look where it is today. :)

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    1. Yeah it was interesting and I am pleased you liked the post

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  4. Very interesting Jo-Anne...I wonder which is true, maybe we will never know.

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  5. When I was in the Navy, we used to pray to Saint Nicholas whenever there was a storm at sea. Although, dropping gold in our socks never seemed to work.
    NOTE: The above, borderline blasphemous, sentence is for entertainment use only.
    NOTE: I've always liked the story of St. Nick. Huh. Given where he's from, I wonder if that's why we always have turkey at Christmas.
    NOTE: Also for entertainment use only. I'm not that dense. Sometimes we have ham.

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    1. Thank you this comment made me laugh and laughing is good except when I have a full bladder then I will piss myself and that is not good

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  6. He sounds like a man of faith….these posts are great, my friend. Keep them coming!!!

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    1. I will be still have a number of Christmas post to do yet

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  7. I just love that you are covering Christmas traditions like this! I'm going to set aside some time this weekend and readreadread! :)

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