The Origin of Santa Claus

AquaAthena

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Just the facts....nothing but the facts: :D

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G2URVpVt1s]Bill O'Reilly True Spirit Of Santa Claus 12-16-13 Talking Points Memo - YouTube[/ame]
 

Pogo

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Bill-O picks up only the recent part of the myth. St. Nicholas begat Santa, but who begat St. Nick?

Nicholas' name comes from Hold Nikar (Old Nick), a sea god known as "king of the nixies" (sea nymphs) and associated with Woden (whence comes Wednesday, "Woden's Day", which is why we spell it like that in our Germanic-derived English). Indeed, echoes of Old Nick's seafaring past are found in the mythical "St. Nicholas'" quieting a storm at sea to save three sailors.

Much of the association murkily filtered down to a conflation with Santa Claus comes from an Italian figure Pasqua Epiphania (a/k/a "The Grandmother") who would fill children's stockings with gifts. Indeed the Grandmother's shrine was at Bari, noted in the accepted "history" of the mythical saint. We could say it was colonized; out with the old god, in with the new, when the Nicholas story was invented (plagiarized really) from a line that traces back to Poseidon in ancient Greece, who replaced Artemis as patron ("saint") of sailors and harlots.

The Gnostic "Nicolaites" saw this St. Nicholas as a fertility god and "held that the only way to salvation lay through frequent intercourse between the sexes" (Knight). All of this predates the rewrite of the invented "St. Nicholas".

Sources: Zimmer, Heinrich: Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization (Princeton University Press 1946); Miles, Clement: Christmas Customs and Traditions (Dover 1976); Knight, Richard Payne: A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus (NYU 1974)

Fascinating stuff.
 
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