Embed from Getty Images
Who was Santa Claus? Since he is always associated with elves and flying reindeer, is he associated with Witchcraft? Is the name Santa a play on Satan or was he the real Saint Nicholas?
Concept of Father Christmas came from the Yuletide Holly King who was sometimes called Father Winter or Grandfather Frost. His Pagan image was brought in line with Christmas festivals in the 17th century. Santa Claus first appeared in America in the middle 1800’s. Then of course we have Kris Kringle. Are all of these from the same character, did the Christian bishop, St Nicholas, look like a chubby, jolly, pipe smoking Yuletide elf?
Saint Nicholas was Nicholas of Myra(modern-day Turkey) and he claimed to have a personal line that he could talk to angels and Jesus. At the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE the bishops were debating the nature of the Holy Trinity- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -and that Jesus was not only the son of god, but god incarnate. Believe it or not there were bishops who opposed this new idea of Jesus being god incarnate. The most outspoken of this opposition was a very old Libyan priest of Alexander named Arius. When Arius stood up at his turn to address the Council, Nicholas of Myra punched him in the face. So much for Jolly Ol Saint Nicholas. This paved the way for the Nicene Trinity Creed. I couldn’t find much more about Saint Nicholas except a fictitious biography written by Greek missionary, Methodius, in the 9th century. In this fictitious writing everyone claims this violent bishop to be a patron saint. He gives gold to three little girls to save them from prostitution, he had the power to calm the seas, and he restored three little boys life after they were cut into pieces by their parents. Because of this ridiculous book they made him a saint. Then they made up the story that he would bring bags of gold to well behave little children on the eve of his December 6 feast day. This tradition was big in Denmark, Holland and Belgium. This is why most people believe that Santa Claus originated with Dutch settlers to America. This is false. Most of the Dutch settlers were protestant and hated the Catholic saints.
Santa Claus was actually introduced by German settlers in Pennsylvania with a character named Pelznichol (meaning furry Nicholas) and they referred to him as Old Nick. He was a mischievous hairy individual who was noted for playing tricks once a year, but it was transformed into gift giving. By 1827 he was firmly established in the Philadelphia Yuletide Festival. Pennsylvania and other settlers became attached to the custom of Pelznichol(some knew him as Belsnickle), but they gave it a christian flavor by giving the gifts to children and calling it Krist-kindle or ‘christ-kind’. By the 1840 Pelznichol became Kriss Kringle.
To get the name Santa Claus we have to go back to the name Saint Nicholas and Pelznichol. In 1822 American writer Clement Clark Moore penned a christmas poem for his children. He drew upon various traditions, but mostly on the Russian Grandfather Frost, who had a sleigh and reindeer. Saint Nicholas always rode a white horse. Pelznichol was known for Thunder and Lightning, so they used it for a couple of reindeer names, Donner and Blitzen. Cupid came from a Shakespeare’s play. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen and Comet rounded out the reindeer. Rudolph didn’t come until 1939. Moore’s poem was titled A Visit From Saint Nicholas. This poem eventually became T’was the Night Before Christmas. This was the beginning of the link with stockings, chimneys and being the Yuletide Elf. In 1869 a color edition of the poem was released with pictures from an unknown artist. The pictures were of a chubby elf with a red bobble hat and pipe, but he was still called Saint Nicholas. They put him in fur from head to foot to show Saint Nicholas was Furry Nick. Meanwhile in England, Father Christmas was very druidic looking with holly in his hair, appearing in Thomas K. Hervey’s The Book of Christmas. Father Christmas rode a goat in this book. To complete the picture of Santa in America, Haddon Sundblom created the modern-day image for Coca-Cola advertisements. These advertisements appeared world-wide in the Post and National Geographic.
But where did the name Santa Claus come from? Apparently Pope Gregory called his description of the devil, Old Nick. The churchmen quoted the Old Testament from Jeremiah(1:14) about where the devil came from “ The the Lord said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land”. Old Nick came from the north pole just like Santa. Pope Gregory’s Satan (Old Nick) was in European Passion plays. It was Jacob Grimm of the Brothers Grimm that gave us the name. Remember the Brothers Grimm were in on the secrets as I have shown in Rapunzel. Jacobs work, Teutonic Mythology, says that in Christmas plays Saint Nicholas had a split personality. He said that Saint Nicholas’ alter ego would be a wild satanic creature called Claus. Grimm put Old Nick, who was Satan, with Saint Nicholas’ alter ego, Claus. Put them together and you get Satan Claus. But the Grimm brothers were very slick and took the n off the end and put it in the middle for Santa Claus. The name is for people “with eyes to see” to remember the true history of Nicholas of Myra or Saint Nicholas. Now you are in on the secret.