Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas, is my favorite icon to paint. He is known world wide by the young and old. I went searching for some true facts regarding this beloved caricature. The story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At that time the area was Greek but is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. In the 16th Century in Europe, the stories and traditions about St. Nicholas had become very unpopular. But someone had to deliver presents to children at Christmas, so in the UK, particularly in England, he became 'Father Christmas', a character from old children's stories (in Scotland he's more commonly known as Santa). In France, he was then known as 'Pore Noel'; in Germany, the 'Christ Kind'. In the early USA his name was 'Kris Kringle'. Later, Dutch settlers in the USA took the old stories of St. Nicholas with them and Kris Kringle became 'Sinterklaas' or as we now say 'Santa Claus'!
"Copyright 2015, Darice Machel McGuire, all rights reserved"
September 24th, 2015
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