The story of the real Santa Claus
FIRST the good news: whoever told you that Santa Claus was an impostor with a fake beard collecting a Christmas cheque at the mall or a lie cooked up by your parents to trick you into five measly minutes of quiet was misinformed.
The bad news: Santa Claus is definitely dead. Archaeologists in southern Turkey say they have discovered the tomb of the original Santa Claus, also known as St Nicholas, beneath his namesake church near the Mediterranean Sea.
Saint Nicholas of Myra (now Demre) was known for his anonymous gift-giving and generosity.
People believed he’d put coins in the shoes of anyone who left them out for him on his feast day, December 6.
He’s also a patron saint of sailors and was, of course, especially fond of children.It wasn’t until the 16th century that St. Nicholas began to take on his modern, candy- cane hued form in images and imaginations. In Europe, he became known as Father Christmas. He migrated to the Americas with the Dutch, who called him “Sinterklass” and gathered every year on the anniversary of his death. He started making appearances in stores in the 1840s, according to History.com.
The writer Clement Clarke cemented the American image of Santa Claus with his poem
, which Visit from St. Nicholas begins with the words “’Twas the night before Christmas”.
There is an annual argument about whether it’s okay to portray Santa as only white. According to the Telegraph, St. Nicholas died in A.D. 343 and was interred at St. Nicholas church in Demre,
Aon the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
In 1087, apparently, merchants dug up his bones and smuggled them to the Italian city of Bari, the Telegraph reported.But archaeologists say pilgrims to the Basilica di San Nicola are praying to the wrong guy. The bones belong to another local priest, not one of the most famous saints, the Telegraph reported.
Archaeologists conducting recent surveys at the church in Demre found gaps beneath it. The shrine, they say, is underneath the church and untouched. “We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor,” Cemil Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.
Karabayram said he’s confident that archaeologists can reach the tomb. – Washington Post
One of the world’s Santa impersonators.