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How did the tradition of Santa Claus begin?
Long ago (many believe in the 4th century) in Myra, which is now modern-day Turkey, there was a bishop named Nicholas. Nicholas loved children and would often give gifts to the poor. Legend has is that he would leave these gifts in the children's shoes while they were sleeping or would throw them down the chimney. (This would explain the modern tradition of putting gifts in stockings and of Santa Claus coming down the chimney.) After he died, Nicholas was canonized as a saint and because of his love for children he became the patron saint of children and seafarers.

What do Pere Noel, Father Christmas, Weihnachtsmann, Grandfather Frost, and Sinterklass have in common? They are all names for Santa Claus.

Many countries and regions had there own version of Santa Claus. In France he was Pere Noel. In England he was Father Christmas and was adorned with holly, ivy or mistletoe. He was known as Weihnachtsmann or Christmas man in Germany. And, during the first of the century when the communists took over Russia and outlawed Christianity, the Russians began to call him Grandfather Frost. The American name "Santa Claus" came from the Dutch. When the Dutch immigrated to America they brought with them the tradition of their Santa Claus named Sinterklass which was mispronounced in America and became Santa Claus.

Why does Santa Claus wear red?

Originally, the different versions of Santa Claus were dressed in a multitude of colors. The tradition of Santa Claus wearing red and white came from Saint Nicholas himself. Saint Nicholas wore a bishop's hat, long flowing white gown, and a red cape. He also had a beard. These attributes of Saint Nicholas were eventually adopted for the modern-day Santa Claus.

How did we get the modern-day Santa Claus?

The modern-day Santa Claus as a chubby and jolly fellow was conceived in America during the 19th and 20th centuries. Surprisingly, this Santa Claus was the result of advertisements for Coca-Cola and illustrations on magazine covers that generated around the world and were soon accepted as the real Santa Claus.