Santa Claus: Roots in Turkey, Finnish Homeland and the Legend of Coca-Cola

Neubauer Coporation
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Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. In songs. In the commercial. In many mediocre Christmas films. Here too, Santa Claus is omnipresent during Advent and plays one of the main roles alongside Christ Child and St. Nicholas during the contemplative time.

Who he is, where he comes from and which legend is simply not true – Neubauer Artists will tell you here.

We’ll start with a boring definition: Santa Claus is a mythological figure who is associated with Christmas, especially in the Western world.

Today he is usually depicted as a friendly, bearded and fat man in a red coat with white fur who comes on the night of December 24th to 25th to bring presents. Not without getting stuck in the chimney first, at least in films.

Santa Claus. Here in Toronto, Canada.

Santa Claus. Here in Toronto, Canada.image: unsplash

Santa Claus is known worldwide as Santa Claus, and there is also the name Kris Kringle. The latter is a synonym for Secret Santa, an old gift exchange tradition. Kris Kringle is originally from “Christkindl” away.

Saint Nicholas was not invented, he lived in what is now Türkiye.

The origins of Santa Claus can be traced back to the bishop in the fourth century. He was born around 270 AD in the Lycian city of Myra, now a small town called Demre, 100 kilometers from Antalya.

Nicholas was merciful, generous and fond of children. The legends of his benefits spread throughout Europe. Various customs arose that are associated with his memorial day on December 6th, which is why we still give away chocolate lice to this day.

The modern idea of ​​Santa Claus was heavily influenced by the Dutch Sinterklaas. According to tradition, he travels from Spain every year by steamboat. And on December 5th, shoes are placed in front of the fireplace (or the door) – Santa Claus in Germany sends his regards.

Anefo photo collection. Sinterklaas entry in Amsterdam. November 21, 1953. Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Copyright: xpiemagsx pienatarchpart72010201-14418 ATTENTION RECORDING DATE ESTIMATED

The arrival of Sinterklaas: a picture from Amsterdam in 1953.image: imago images / piemags

Dutch settlers brought the custom to North America in the 18th century, where Sinterklaas became Santa Claus. In the USA he developed into an independent figure that did not adhere to upholds European traditions.

Where Does Santa Claus Live?

The exact address is of course top secret. Or: It depends on which country you ask people in.

As a rule, Santa Claus’s residence is often located in northern Lapland, in any case always somewhere near the North Pole.

In Rovaniemi, the capital of the Finnish province of Lapland, there is even an official “Santa Claus Village” that attracts tourists from all over the world. Here visitors can meet Santa Claus and look at his house.

By the way, the Christmas feeling doesn’t just exist there during Advent. Anyone who goes on holiday in Northern Europe can get a taste of the Santa Claus atmosphere all year round. This may be a little unusual in July, but in December it gets really uncomfortably frosty in Finland.

Did Coca-Cola Invent Santa Claus?

Short answer: no. This is one of those legends that bravely persist, but do not become true.

Nevertheless, Coca-Cola has had an enormous impact on the image of Santa Claus. In the 1930s, the beverage giant launched an advertising campaign to associate Cola with the holidays.

Illustrator Haddon Sundblom created a series of advertisements that depicted Santa Claus as a friendly, fat man relaxing and drinking Coke. The motif became so iconic that it shaped the image of the character worldwide. The colors red and white have been irrefutable ever since, even if they were previously used in parts of the representation.

Haddon Sundblom shaped the image of the modern Santa Claus with his illustrations.

Haddon Sundblom shaped the image of the modern Santa Claus with his illustrations.image: coca-cola

Sundblom continued to design new motifs for a long time, which Coca-Cola spread around the world with huge advertising budgets.

Santa Claus and Christ Child – the difference

There are many differences, the one big thing in common is that the Christ child and Santa Claus bring the presents, depending on the country.

While Santa Claus is popular in America, the Christ Child is particularly present in parts of Europe. The Christ child is often depicted as a heavenly figure and brings gifts on Christmas Eve; unlike Santa Claus, who comes by on the night of December 25th.

While Santa Claus goes back to Saint Nicholas and the Dutch Sinterklaas, the Christ child is closely linked to the Christian faith and the birth of Jesus Christ.

Why is Santa Claus so present here?

Santa Claus has a simple advantage compared to the Christ Child: He is easier to represent. This is noticeable, especially in a globalized world in which international brands run worldwide campaigns. And American companies rely on Santa.

The second driving force are films and series that we stream millions of times and in which Santa Claus plays a leading role. Which doesn’t change the fact that many people use St. Nicholas and Santa Claus as words interchangeably. Which, you now know, is not correct.

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