ST. NICHOLAS – SANTA CLAUS
St. Nicholas was one of the most popular saints of the Christian Church. He is the patron saints of sailors, travellers, bakers, merchants and especially children. He was a bishop in Myra, in Lycia, on the coast of Asia Minor. It is said that many miracles were credited to him. Saint Nicholas evolved into Father Christmas in Germany and Protestant norther Europe. The Dutch took the visit of St. Nicholas to America. The ‘Santa Claus’ comes from ‘Sinterklaas’ which is Dutch word for Saint Nicholas. 6th December is the Death Day of St. Nicholas who was born in A.D.300s and this day is observed to mark his ‘Death Day’. A special holiday is declared in his memoir. Since Christmas follows within a few days, Santa Claus is associated to Christmas, St. Nicholas believed to be riding on a sleigh bringing gifts for children. In Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium, men in bishops’ robes pose as Saint Nicholas. They visit children, examine them on their prayers, urge them to be good and give them gifts. This custom prevails as St. Nicholas was a kind man. He gave gold to the three daughters of a poor man who could not afford dowry. It is also known that giant multinational company Coca Cola first featured Santa Claus clad in the red cloak in its Advertisement campaign with a bottle of coke. Since than Santa Claus is seen dressed up to pose for appearance which builds the character in minds as a jolly kind person.