Sunday, March 14, 2010
Kris Kringle was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. The legend begins when he gave away all of his riches and traveled helping the poor and sick. One of the famous stories is of him saving 3 sisters from being sold by their father into prostitution or slavery. Father Christmas paid the 3 sisters dowry so they could marry instead. Over the years Weihnachtsmann was best known as the protector of children. His popularity even held out during the Protestant Reformation when the love of saints began to be discouraged.
Christkindl became popular in America in 1773 when Dutch immigrants had gathered to honor the anniversary of his death December 6th. In 1804 a man named John Pintard distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society's annual meeting. In the background of his engravings were images of Santa including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace. In 1809 a man named Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York.
In 1822 a man named Clement Clarke Moore wrote a Christmas poem titled An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas. In this poem we get the ideas we have today like Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, 8 tiny reindeer, and leaving presents for children. And by 1881 a man named Thomas Nast built on Moore's poem and created what we know today as Santa Claus. He drew a cartoon image of Saint Nick with a white beard and his notorious red suit trimmed in fur.
So you now know how St. Nicholas has evolved over the years. I hope you find this little post informative.