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“Santa Claus” is an American corruption of the Dutch form “San Nicolaas,” a figure brought to America by the early Dutch colonists ( 11th edition, Vol. How, we might ask, did a bishop from the sunny Mediterranean coast of Turkey come to be associated with a red-suited man who lives at the north pole and rides in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer?Knowing what we have already learned about the ancient pre-Christian origins of Christmas, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Santa Claus, too, is nothing but a figure recycled from ancient pagan beliefs.The tendency on the part of third-century Catholic leadership was to meet paganism halfway-a practice made clear in a bitter lament by the Carthaginian philosopher Tertullian.

“As late as 245 Origen, in his eighth homily on Leviticus, repudiates as sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday of Christ as if he were a king Pharaoh” ( 11th edition, Vol. It took 300 years for the new name and symbols of Christmas to replace the old names and meaning of the midwinter festival, a pagan celebration that reaches back so many centuries. Why is this mythical figure so closely aligned with the Christmas holiday? Nicholas, bishop of the city of Myra in southern Asia Minor, a Catholic saint honored by the Greeks and the Latins on Dec. He was bishop of Myra in the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian, was persecuted, tortured for the Catholic faith and kept in prison until the more tolerant reign of Constantine (ibid.). Nicholas, all of them having to do with gift-giving on the eve of St.

Here, too, many books are available to shed light on the origins of this popular character. Nicholas, subsequently transferred to Christmas Day (ibid.).

“That’s the first lie you tell your children.” Instead, “tell kids that Santa’s a character we made up to celebrate a time of the season.” Otherwise “when kids get to be 5 …

they realize their parents have been lying to them their whole life.” Earlier in the year the Arts The promo for this program read: “People all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th.

And, more important, does it make any difference whether we continue them?

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