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  • Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas or Santa Claus? Many names - one person.

Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas or Santa Claus? Many names - one person.


    Often depictmikulas-nicholased as a white-bearded, bespectacled, jolly and a bit overweight man, to disappointment of many, St. Nicholas/Santa Claus is far from having that appearance and does not even reside at the North Pole.

St. Nicholas was born in Myra, which is in Turkey now. He was a bishop and apparently quite rich as his parents left him a good deal of money. However, he was persecuted for being a Christian bishop, went through the hardship of prison, and eventually died on December 6th sometime in the mid-4th century. But what does it have to do with the thing of gift giving? Well, there are many legends and stories describing his kindness. One famous story says that Bishop Nicholas saved three young girls from prostitution when he secretly delivered three bags of gold to their poor father, so his daughters did not have to lead the life of sin. For many years, he was an unrivaled gift bringer and took on many features of earlier European deities such as the Roman Saturn or the Norse Odin, who were depicted as white-bearded men and had magical powers like flight. In the 16th Century in Europe, the stories and traditions about St. Nicholas had become very unpopular though. But somebody must deliver Christmas presents. In the UK, particularly in England, St. Nicholas became 'Father Christmas', a character from old children's stories (in Scotland he's more commonly known as Santa). 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'! However, many European countries celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day on December, 6th. Sankt Nikolaus, as he is known in Germany or Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, comes as a bishop with white beard, miter and staff. Children polish their shoes to get some goodies, but they also put some carrots and hay in them for Nikolaus’s/Sinterklaas’s horse and donkey. In the Soviet Union, St. Nicholas role was taken over by Grandfather Frost, but after the communist rule fell St. Nicolas Day was re-established in Russia. In Slovakia, the Saint Nicholas’s day is also celebrated on December, 6th. He arrives on a horse-drawn coach and is accompanied by an angel and a fearsome devil. Children are expected to clean their shoes, put it on the windowsill and hope that the shoes will be filled with some sweet treats as a reward for their good behavior. St. Nicholas’ Day is almost here, so make sure you also shine your boots because St. Nicholas is (again) coming to town.


bespectacled - s okuliarmi, nosiaci okuliare
jolly - veselý, zábavný
miter - vysoký špicatý klobúk, ktorý nosia biskupi
staff - biskupská palica
polish - vyčistiť, vyleštiť