Documenting the journey of a Cameroonian filmmaker
So tis the season of Christmas and every one seems to be in a jolly good mood. With phrases like ‘kiss under the mistletoe’ where hopeful lovers will attempt to steal a kiss to the very familiar plump old man with a long pearly white beard and RED outfit (Santa Claus), we will have every reason to be merry. But apart from the Biblical meaning of Christmas, do you ever wonder about the origin of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) as we know him and what those phrases really mean?
A friend and I had this discussion lately and it got me thinking…
What’s the story behind Santa Claus?
Every year, children are encouraged to write letters to Santa Claus asking him for their favourite gifts and if they have been good, on Christmas eve, Santa Claus will come down the chimney (in the Western world) or just through the back door (in Africa- I think) and deliver those gifts.
Saint Nicholas is said to be the patron saint of many groups of people including children, orphans, thieves, sailors, students, pawnbrokers and countries like Russia and Greece. He did a lot of work to spread Christianity and its values, among the people of Rome. People in many parts of the world revere him, and his feast day is commemorated in many places. His stories grew in popularity and even after his death; the concept of Santa Claus developed, and grew even more popular. The name Santa Claus is derived from the Sinter Klass, which is the Dutch pronunciation for St. Nicholas.
The Legend goes on to say that He lives in the North Pole in a land of snow with his little helpers, the elves.
and he rides down from the North pole on a sleigh held by a flying reindeer. For more information on Santa, Click here
Why does Santa wear Red?: It is assumed that St. Nicholas was a bishop and so he traditionally wore Red, while cynics would say that in 1931 when Coca-Cola decided to draw the modern Santa, they chose colours that were suited to their brand colours.
Truth is as an African child, I only read about Santa Claus in story books and I don’t think I ever doubted his existence, I must have thought he like all the other characters I read in story books only lived in the western world. Cos I knew who bought my new Christmas dress and doll, my darling mama.
What was your childhood idea of Santa CLaus?