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Who Was the Real Santa Claus

Santa Claus is one of the most famous figures in the world. Kids wake up at obscene hours in the morning to see what he has brought them Christmas morning. Old and new songs about him get played thousands of time each year. He is in paintings, advertising, stories, and films. But who was the real Santa Claus? We thought you may want to know.

Nicholas was born a Greek in Asia Minor during the third century in the city of Patara, which was a port on the Mediterranean Sea, and lived in Myra, Lycia (part of modern-day Demre, Turkey), at a time when the region was Greek in its heritage, culture, and outlook and politically part of the Roman diocese of Asia. He was the only son of wealthy Christian parents who died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young and he was raised by his uncle—also named Nicholas—who was the bishop of Patara. He tonsured the young Nicholas as a reader and later ordained him a presbyter (priest).

Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day―St Nicholas Day (6 December in Western Christianity and 19 December in Eastern Christianity); and thus became the model for Santa Claus. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. 

In his most famous exploit, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, would have to become prostitutes. Even if they did not, unmarried maidens in those days would have been assumed as being a prostitute. Hearing of the girls' plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.

Nicholas was known nationwide as a generous giver and a kind person, so much so that he was called Saint Nicholas even while he was alive. As he rode his sleigh through the streets, children would line up and cry out his name. "Sant Ni Chlas" which of course was translated in Europe as Santa Claus which the name and legend carried on for hundreds of years and brought to America.

Saint Nicholas is surrounded by legend and myth but one thing that is not disputed is his care and compassion for the less fortunate. His desire to give rather than receive echoes to this day whether you call him Santa Clause or Old Saint Nick he still has a small part in every gift we give during these holidays.

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