The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News Phuket Culture
The Phuket News Arts | Community | Culture | Dining | Education | Phuket Entertainment | Environment | Health | People | Technology | Travel | World Entertainment XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Merry Christmas Phuket – but just who is Santa Claus?

First, a word of caution. Do not let your children read this. It’ll ruin Christmas for them. Ready? Then I’ll begin.

Monday 25 December 2017, 10:05AM

Santa Claus, the jolly, fat fellow with the white whiskers, red suit and pointy hat with white fur trim, has not always looked that way.
Santa Claus, the jolly, fat fellow with the white whiskers, red suit and pointy hat with white fur trim, has not always looked that way.

Santa Claus, the jolly, fat fellow with the white whiskers, red suit and pointy hat with white fur trim, has not always looked that way.

In fact, he has appeared in many different guises, not least because he is an amalgam of various real (or supposedly real people) and mythical characters.

The name is a corruption of the Dutch “Sinterklaas”, which in turn is a corrupt version of the Latin “Sanctus Nicolaus”, from the Greek “Hagios Nikolaos”.

The original Greek version was the Bishop of Myra (then in Greece, now in Turkey), who lived from the years 270 to 343 AD. For convenience, let’s call him St Nicholas.

He is the patron saint of merchants, archers, sailors and thieves who repent, pawnbrokers, students – and children. He is credited with restoring to life three children who had been chopped up by an evil butcher who planned to sell them as ham, and with helping to feed the people of Myra in time of famine by diverting part of a cargo of grain that belonged to the Emperor of Constantinople.

But the story that links him most closely to the current image concerns three girls from a poor family whose father could not afford a dowry for them, meaning they could not marry and would end up on the street. Reluctant to embarrass them by helping them publicly, the saint climbed onto the roof of their house and dropped three bags of gold coins, one for each girl, down the chimney.

St Nicholas was buried in Myra, but some 700 years later much of his skeleton was stolen by sailors, who brought the bones back to their hometown of Bari in Italy where they remain to this day.

The red suit appears to come from a different character, the English “Father Christmas”, who was never a real person, but a 15th Century invention (with a variety of names) who was symbolic of the traditions of Christmas.

QSI International School Phuket

By the 17th Century the character had been refined into a merry old chap whose main purpose appears to have been to encourage people to eat and drink a lot to celebrate the anniversary of Christ’s birth.

He doesn’t seem to have been associated with children or the giving of gifts. That link came somewhere in the mid-Victorian era when Father Christmas and St Nicholas were merged, though the emphasis was still on eating and drinking.

The red suit was added at least 130 years ago. American cartoonist Thomas Nast depicted him in 1881 in a way that is recognisably linked to the modern version, festooned with toys.

The elves? In Germanic mythology elves were diminutive woodland dwellers and frankly, rather a nasty lot, given to threats, seduction and causing people to do harm to themselves. But the Elizabethans somehow managed to mix them up with fairies, making them much more benevolent.

An almost interminable 1823 American poem called “A Visit From Santa Claus” describes Santa himself as “a right jolly old elf” – rather odd for the fat old chap in the red suit.

That description didn’t stick but, within a decade or so, the American version of Santa Claus was equipped with an entourage of green-suited chappies about a foot tall who made all the toys the Santa would distribute.

The reindeer and sleigh in which Santa flits around delivering gifts appear to be an invention of author L. Frank Baum in his 1902 children’s novel, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. But that’s a tale for another time.



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

Phuket fishing operators protest EU regulations

"The EU can do what it likes... etc" it DOESN'T matter what you think, the EU is the customer, but it seems you support slavery, murder,...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Road safety doesn’t happen by accident

Accidents result of a lack of education passing the practical driving test on a big parking place circuit doesn’t make you an experienced driver. A ...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Road safety doesn’t happen by accident

As always, a to the point PN Opinion article Perhaps secret of so little road accidents lays in the fact that many thai Phuket workers left Phuket an...(Read More)

Phuket lifeguard crisis leads to request for US ‘Level 3’ Travel Advisory warning

This is silly. When we grew up we went in the sea, in the surf with no lifeguards. We looked at the conditions and made up our own mind. We know if w...(Read More)

Phuket Gov gives financial compensation to Songkran road death victim’s family

Strange how customary differences are an anathema to the neo colonialists...(Read More)

Phuket suffers first road death of Songkran holidays

Perhaps if the Government implements economic policies to increase the well-being of its citizens and other institutions and benefits that are taken f...(Read More)

Phuket fishing operators protest EU regulations

The EU can do what it likes...and it does. Like may other legal sanctions, it's taken on the fisheries role by developing its own plan to implemen...(Read More)

Four police chiefs flunk Songkran ‘road safety test’

Why not demoted in pay and rank...or even sacked for not doing their job. I will never understand the mere shuffling of the losers. It's like st...(Read More)

Dengue danger: Phuket hits highest infection rate in the country

The no of infections is probably far worse than reported. There have been 10 cases on my small development and not everyone including myself has been ...(Read More)

Four police chiefs flunk Songkran ‘road safety test’

How can someone think of road safety while allowing this stupid water spils over moving motorbikes and cars?...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2018 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.