Searching for Santa

How Santa Became a Symbol of Christmas

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Searching for Santa

Luna Molla, Features Writer

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Do you believe in Santa? Well, maybe you should… 

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way! It’s almost Christmas, Cougars!! Presents, pine trees, and Elves on the Shelves. What could be more perfect? Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus, or is it? Well, what does Santa have to do with the birth of the Holy Savior? Well, the story of Santa Claus is different.  

Saint Nicholas was a real person. He was born in Patara, a colony in Greece near what is modern- day Turkey. He was born into a wealthy family, but after his parents passed away, when disease swept the area, he gave his fortune away to beggars. After he gave away his fortune, he did “community service.” He traveled throughout the countryside, helping the less fortunate, especially children. He was around ten years old. There are many versions of the story, but I’m going to go with the least grim one. He was chosen to be Patara’s bishop. He continued to help the needy, specifically by giving three gold coins to children near the end of the year. After the Romans came and invaded Greece, they imprisoned and exiled Old Saint Nick. Eventually, he was released and continued to donate and give his fortune away.  

Another story is that there was a poor man with three daughters. Back then, the soon to be brides had to present their soon to be husband with something of value, called dowries. The man, being poor, could not afford a dowry for one of his daughters, much less three. The girls were destined to be maids and never to marry (…tragic, I know). Then, one day, three bags full of gold and jewels mysteriously appeared inside stuffed into the girls’ stockings, making it possible for the girls to marry into a wealthy family. Jolly Saint Nicholas was said to have thrown the sacks into their socks, hence the tradition of hanging up stockings.  

Speaking of traditions, the tradition of Christmas (as we know it today) was not celebrated on the 25th of December.  Though that date marked the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, it was not associated with Santa Clause. That day, Saint Nicholas day (as it was called) was celebrated on December 6. It was eventually changed to align with the birth of Jesus, so children would enjoy that holiday even more! 

So, if you don’t believe in Santa, believe in this: the joy and peace that you feel when the presents are ripped open on Christmas morning is magic. And that’s the real Christmas magic.  

I hope you learned something, Cougars. Ho ho ho, and Merry Christmas!  

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