Father Christmas Was Born In Turkey

We know him by names such as Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply “Santa” and his job is to bring gifts to the homes of good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24th or on his Feast Day, December 6th (Saint Nicholas Day.)

Saint Nicholas was originally portrayed wearing bishop’s robes but today Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast and has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, and films. In the United Kingdom and Europe, his depiction is often identical to the American Santa, but he is commonly called Father Christmas.

But from where did Father Christmas originate? You would be surprised to know that it was from 4th century Anatolia, now in Turkey. Now before you start getting too excited it turns out that Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia, Turkey. So, it looks like the inspiration for modern day Father Christmas originated from Turkey but was in fact Greek. I do hope none of you in the south are now going to produce banners proclaiming “Father Christmas is Greek.”

Merry Christmas!

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