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Santa Claus is every child’s favorite part of Christmas! His bushy beard, rosy cheeks, shiny black boots, we love it all! Our modern day Santa actually originated in the Mediterranean, and then made its way across Europe, before eventually reaching America. But who exactly is Santa Claus and how did he end up here?
St. Nicholas was Santa’s original ancestor. Although our modern American Santa looks nothing like St. Nicholas, they both represent gift giving and joy! St. Nicholas lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries and was a Greek bishop. He was famous for having a feisty and defiant demeanor and was a fierce defender of the church’s doctrine. This was a time when Bible burning was commonplace, and church leaders were made to deny their Christianity or face execution, so St. Nicholas must have been quite brave.
From the years between 1200-1500, St. Nicholas was known as a gift bringer, and he even had his a day dedicated to him – December 6th.
People from the Netherlands eventually brought the story of St. Nicholas (whom they referred to as “Sinterklaas”) to the New World colonies. Once here, his legend as a bringer of gifts rapidly gained popularity, and the seeds of Christmas were planted. However, the original Christmas celebration wasn’t quite as family friendly as it is now. Instead, Christmas was celebrated as a raucous, outdoor festival full of alcohol and drunken people!
In the early 19th century, this all changed. There were a few poets and writers who decided to change Christmas into more of a family-friendly celebration. This is when St. Nicholas began a transformation and by the end of the 19th century, he’d become the Santa Claus we know and love today.
From all of us at Little Rockies Pediatric Dentistry, we would like to wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season! Please keep our Parker, CO pediatric dental office in mind next time your children are due for a dental cleaning and exam!