The Saint Nicholas Cult is Born
Saint Nicolas was buried in Turkey but his bones were collected by a group of sailors that idolized him in 1027. They carried him back to Bari, Italy. Here they did away with an altar to their goddess Pasqua Epiphania who was a gift-giver. They replaced her with Nicholas, and thus was the dawn of the Nicholas cult. They replaced her legend with his name. Every December 6th they held a pageant in his name and exchanged gifts. They gave him credit for good deeds and gift giving. Some historians say this is where the stories of goodness birthed about Nicholas.
Celtic and German pagans latched to this cult and their celebration on December 6th as the cult moved north. And there in Northern Europe, as the Catholic Church wanted more pagan converts, it accepted the cult but convinced them they should move their gift-giving celebration to the 25th of December, which most countries complied with.
In Holland , St. Nicholas was referred to as Sinter Klass. When the Dutch migrated to New York, they carried the tradition of Sinter Klass with them, and there the pronunciation changed to Santa Claus. The original Father Christmas, or Sinter Klass, wore a green suit with jeweled gloves.
Saint Nicholas Meets Greek Mythology
You can also find controversy on him. Some say he was really a child molester, perhaps the first under the Vatican. This was quite a common practice back in the days of the Roman Empire and many leaders not only approved of pedophilia and pedastry (men in sexual relationships with boys), but also encouraged men to practice them.
Some other traits of Mr. Nicholas are vaguely familiar to those who have studied Greek mythology. These have passed along to Father Christmas, or Sinter Klass, blending St. Nicholas into the aforementioned quite nicely.
Odin, the god of the sky, rules from the North region and goes around at night dropping gifts down through chimneys as he rides on his chariot, powered by flying goats. Sorry. Perhaps you thought Santa was original? Something else that is creepy, Odin observes everything with his “all seeing eye”! To those who worshipped him, he gave gifts at Yuletide, placing them under their sacred fir tree.
Watch this space…
By Jori Sams