The Man Behind the Story of Father Christmas / Santa Claus

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St. Nicholas was a bishop who lived in the fourth century in a place called Myra in Anatolia (Antalya – Türkiye).

He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him a lot of money. He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people who needed him. There are several legends about San Nicolás, although we do not know if any of them are true!

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The most famous story about St. Nicholas tells how the custom of hanging the stockings to place the gifts began! Says so:

The Man Behind the Story of Father Christmas / Santa Claus

There was a poor man who had three daughters. The man was so poor that he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters could not get married. (A dowry is a sum of money paid to the groom by the brides’ parents on the day of the wedding.) This still happens in some countries, even today.) One night, Nicholas dropped a bag of gold in secret at the fireplace and the house (This meant that the eldest daughter could then be married.) The bag fell on a stocking that had been hung by fire to dry! This was repeated later with the second daughter. The person who had given him the money, the father hid secretly by the fire every night until he caught Nicholas and put him in a bag of gold, Nicholas begged the man not to tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to attract attention, but soon the news was heard and when someone received a secret gift, it was thought that maybe it was from Nicholas.

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For his kindness, Nicholas was made holy. Saint Nicholas is not only the saint of children but also of sailors! A story tells that it helped some sailors who were caught in a terrible storm on the coast of Turkey. The storm was whipping around him and all the men were terrified that his ship would sink under the giant waves. They prayed to St. Nicholas to help them. Suddenly, he was standing on the deck before them. He ordered the sea to calm down, the storm died out and they were able to navigate by ship to port.

The Man Behind the Story of Father Christmas / Santa Claus

St. Nicholas was banished from Myra and then imprisoned during the persecution by Emperor Diocletian. No one really knows when he died, but it was December 6 in 345 or 352. In 1087, some Italian sailors stole the bones of Turkey. The bones are now preserved in the Church that bears his name in the Italian port of Bari. At the party of San Nicolás (December 6), the sailors of Bari still carry their statue from the cathedral to the sea, so that it can bless the waters and provide safe trips throughout the year.

in 1066, before sailing to England, William the Conqueror prayed to Saint Nicholas asking him to conquer his conquest.

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