The History and Traditions of Saint Nicholas

Braylin, staff

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This image, along with the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” helped shape Santa Claus into the modern figure he is today.

Every Christmas Night all around the world, it is a tradition for a jolly man in red clothing, named Santa Claus, to come to houses and give gifts to the good children and coal to the bad children. At one point, kids have been told that the real name of Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas and people like to carry on his traditions. But who is Saint Nicholas and why did we start a Christmas tradition based on his beliefs?

Saint Nicholas was a saint during the age of the Roman Empire during 300 AD to 343 AD. Under his religious beliefs, he gave many things and wealth to the sick, poor, and needy. There are many stories of his good cheer to many. One story tells of three young girls who were about to be sold to slavery if they didn’t have a dowry, which was given from a father to a daughter in the hopes of the daughter to soon be married. Saint Nicholas put three bags of gold into the girls’ stockings so that they would get married soon, hence why kids hang stockings to get candy from Santa.

Because of his good deeds, Saint Nicholas had a holiday named after him in Europe called Saint Nicholas’ Feast Day on December 6. During this day, the stories of the kind deeds Saint Nicholas did are told to the children and gifts are given to the children as well. When Europeans immigrated to the New World in the 1700’s and 1800’s, they brought the traditions of Saint Nicholas with them. Over time, the traditions of Saint Nicholas merged with the Religious traditions of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on December 24th and December 25th respectively. In 1823, a poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was written which depicted Saint Nick as a jolly old man who wore a red suit. This poem is now known as “The Night Before Christmas.” The poem helped bring the tradition of Santa Claus to many homes in America by introducing the idea of a man who gives gifts to the good children of the world on Christmas Night.

About the Writer
Braylin, Staff

Hi! My name is Braylin. I am a senior at Springville High School. My strongest school subjects are math and history, and my weakest school subject is science....

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The History and Traditions of Saint Nicholas