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Santa Who? Santa Claus that’s who!

Posted on 23rd November 2013
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Santa Who? Santa Claus that’s who!

Clown Logo of Karnival Costumes your Halloween specialists for Fancy Dress and Costume AccessoriesIt’s coming up to that time of year again when we all get that rosy glow of goodwill and cheer and although most understand it’s basis in Christianity but many t people remain confused about the origins of Santa Claus the kindly old figure and the bringer of gifts at Christmas. In order to shed a little light on this matter we’ve prepared this short blog post about the great man.  And although the true origins of our beloved Father Christmas are rooted away back in the annals of history it probably won’t be a surprise to many that his modern day appearances owe everything to the Victorians. 
The name 'Santa Claus' is derived from the word Dutch for St Nicholas; ‘Sinterklaas’ a Greek saint who was reputed to be associated with the anonymous giving of gifts to the poor.  As a mark of remembrance his works of generosity they were continued after his passing with people continuing to make anonymous gifts to the needy. The work of St Nicholas is the model in both spirit and name, for our modern day Santa Claus.
Although you can still find Santa Claus depicted in his traditional bishop’s robes the image has become corrupted into that that we conjure up for ourselves today; a huge bellied Santa with a smiling face with rosy coloured cheeks, a flowing white beard and bushy moustache with huge eyebrows and dressed in a rich red coat and trousers with luxurious fluffy white collar and cuffs.  For us, this is the iconic image of Santa but in reality it was created and developed by the Americans during the 1800’s with the image becoming popularised primarily through the character being used in illustrated advertising primarily by Coca-Cola and from there becoming woven into modern day fabric of life.
The American advertising industry then created a complete back story for Santa with them deciding on many of the points that we take as fact today. It was they who determined that Santa lives at the North Pole and that he is married to Mrs. Claus. They also created the notion of him having his own work-shop full of helpful and industrious elves and having a team of flying reindeer, including Rudolph with his red nose. Although this background is what the majority of believers insist on, it is not however a universally held belief with, for instance, the Scandinavians believing that Santa lives in the snowy peaks and mountains of Korvantunturi in Lapland, Finland. 
And it is to Finland that most travellers go when they want to find Santa’s grotto which is to be found inside the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi, Finland. In fact it appears that the whole town in Rovaniemi has been taken over by Santa with a Santa Claus Village that tourists can visit and it is here that in Rovaniemi that the official Father Christmas Post Office is located receiving thousands of letters from all around the world from children eager to inform Santa of their wishes.
Like all the best folk stories, there are many myths and traditions surrounding Sinterklaas that have remained too, not least notion that Santa Claus enters houses on Christmas Eve via the chimney and fireplace. This could have its roots as far back as the days of original Saint Nicholas, who it is believed used to throw gold coins down the chimneys of the households when making his secret gifts to the poor. The tradition of hanging stockings, meanwhile, is believed to have its roots in German folklore – where in the past children believed that the kindly pagan god Odin would visit their houses on his flying horse in search of food, so children would fill their boots with carrots, straw and sugar before leaving them out for Odin to find. In return for their generosity and kindness a sweet or gift would be left in their boots.
Whatever your belief system dictates, there is surely a place for this kindly old chap so know you at least know a little more about him and his origins.  And if you fancy playing at the big man yourself, then at Karnival Costumes you’ll find all of the costumes from the traditional Bishop’s robes through to Santa suits and cloaks plus all of the accessories, wigs, beards, eyebrows and everything else that you could need.
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