The evolution of the figure known as Santa Claus may be traced through religious, mythological, and cultural portrayals from the fourth century A.D. to the present.
Through extensive research and quoted material, this paper will display how the legend of Santa Claus has grown and developed through history to become a modern day icon of the Christmas holiday season.
Carols, snow, mistletoe, cookies and milk. These are all synonymous with the Christmas season. However, for many, the true staple of Christmas is Santa Claus. Every child has felt the joy of Christmas Eve, spending time with family, leaving treats out for Santa, tossing and turning in their beds in anticipation for old St. Nick’s arrival. Although what Santa does is well known, his origins are slightly less familiar to most. The man we identify with Christmas has developed over a long time and has encountered many changes. “The original St. Nicholas is for the most part a shadowy figure, lost in historical mists and religious myths. (Myers 318).
Despite the fact that the idea of giving presents developed from St. Nicholas in the fourth century, the first characters that resemble our modern day Santa developed in the seventeenth century A.D. We acquire these figures from the English and the Dutch. Although this man is not the same as the modern Santa Claus, it is evident that these are his origins. “When the Dutch lost control of New Amsterdam to the English in the seventeenth century, Sinterklaas gradually became anglicized into Santa Claus and acquired some of the features of the English Father Christmas” (Myers 321).
Santa Claus is a character that has been changed and modified throughout hi...
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...was no going back and no untangling; Kriss Kringle was Santa Claus was St. Nicholas and still is” (Myers 320).
Although Santa has become the main staple of the Christmas season it is important to remember the true reason for the season. Jesus’ birth is what December 25 began as until Saint Nicholas day merged with it. Even though the character that has developed and encountered extremely drastic changes, he has almost always been a giving generous figure in society. “Santa is ‘an invention of the advertising industry’ and ‘a representative of consumer society,’ according to Bonifatiuswerk der deutschen Katholiken [Boniface of German Catholics], which seeks to restore St. Nicholas to his proper place in the Christmas season” (Sweas).
For a long time Santa Claus has been an influential part of society and will continue to unite the world universally forever.
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