New York English Academy Rookie blog

Who is Santa Claus December 23, 2015

One of the most widely recognized Christmas symbols is Santa Claus, the jolly old man who rides a sleigh and brings toys to children around the world. However, Santa Claus was not always known as the toymaker who lives in the North Pole.


Santa Claus evolved from St. Nicholas, a Greek bishop that lived around 280AD. He was known as the patron saint of children and the bringer of gifts. His name day was celebrated on December 6th for many centuries. After the protestant reformation in the 16th century, Europe took a less religious approach to Christmas and combined St. Nicholas with the British “Father Christmas,” the bringer of joy and cheer. This fusion led to the creation of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands: a bearded, cheerful older man dressed in red and fur with a resemblance to the Nordic god, Odin. His holiday was moved and celebrated on Christmas day, December 25th.


This tradition was carried over to the American colonies by the Dutch settlers in the 17th century, where he became the present-day Santa Claus. Over the next few centuries, American poets and writers turned Santa Claus into an endearing figure and Christmas became a family celebration.


One of the most famous pieces of American art that shaped Christmas is Clement Clark Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas”, a poem published in 1822. This poem is also known as “The Night Before Christmas” and has been the inspiration behind many plays and films. The American Santa Claus has been adopted by several European countries and led to the creation of Père Noël in France and Papa Noel in Spain.



Category : American culture