We are quickly coming up to Christmas, and what better way to kick off the festive season than to tell a good origin story!
There are many origin stories of Santa, which seem to vary country to country. The name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch words “Sinter Klaas”, which is what they call St. Nicholas.
St Nicholas was known for his kindness and generosity – he often went out at night and took presents to the needy. His notoriety can be traced to many legends – one being “The Three Daughters”.
There were three unmarried girls who came from a respectable family, but they could not get married because their father had lost all his money and could not provide dowries for the girls. Hearing of their imminent fate of being sold off once they reached the age to marry, Nicholas secretly delivered a bag of gold to the eldest daughter. This good fortune meant she was able to go and become happily married. When the next daughter came of age, Nicholas also delivered gold to her.
According to the legend, Nicholas threw the bag through the window and it landed in the daughter’s stocking, which she had hung by the fire. Another version claims that Nicholas dropped the bag of gold down the chimney.
By the time the youngest daughter was old enough for marriage, the father was determined to discover his daughters’ benefactor. He thought that she might be given a bag of gold too, so he decided to keep watch. Nicholas arrived and was seized, and his generosity was made known to all.
Similar stories of his generosity spread, and anyone who received an unexpected gift thanked St. Nicholas.