Do you find that hard to believe? Well, the truth is that our modern day Santa is based on the existence of a real person! If you’re thinking of the German version named Klaus you are mistaken.
The living breathing person that our jolly friend in red and white is based on is actually Saint Nicholas of Myra and believe it or not it all began in Turkey! The real St. Nick was a Christian bishop in Lycia during the 4th century. That was a province of Byzantine Anatolia, what we call the country of Turkey today.
Saint Nicholas was very well known for his generosity to the poor but one story stands out from the rest. Apparently there was a Christian family that was extremely poor and the 3 lovely daughters were soon to turn to prostitution as a necessary means of support. This was a very common practice amongst impoverished families at that time but St. Nicholas would not have it. To prevent the 3 very pious young ladies from sinning he provided a generous dowry for all 3 girls to the family. News of this incredible gift soon spread throughout the entire country and the beginning of the legendary Santa Claus had begun!
Saint Nicholas was very religious from childhood and devoted his entire life to Christianity. Other countries have different versions of Santa but they are all based on the same person. In Belgium, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands the modern day Santa is still a bearded bishop complete with the canonical robes of the priesthood. He is also considered to be the patron saint of both Amsterdam and even Russia. A few small villages in Flanders, Belgium have an almost identical figure known as Sint-Maarten and many other countries of the world have their own version of Santa as well. Even though the name and appearance may be somewhat different, all countries that have a type of “Santa” figure are actually based on the real Saint Nicholas of Myra.