ILS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1062 times:
Many of you may not be aware, but today is Saint Nicolas Day. An unofficial holiday in eastern France where children get candy in their shoes, kind of like an early Christmas. So to all mes amis in France, Happy Saint Nicolas Day!
Sebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3681 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1011 times:
Yeah, I think there's a confusion between Saint Nicolas, or Saint Nicklaus or whatever you call him, and the guy in red who we call "Pere Noel" in French ("Father Christmas") and that the Americans call Santa Claus. Or perhaps it's the same character ?
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 10, posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1002 times:
It is all the same character. Saint Nicholas (Sankt Niklaus, Santaclaus) was bishop of Mira (in what is now Turkey).
The English name Santaclaus comes from the German "Sankt (saint) Niklaus (Nicholas)". The Germanic people were probably the first to shift his celebration from the evening of the 5th of December to the midwinter solstice.
At about the same time, the celebration of the birth of Christ was also shifting towards the midwinter solstice (originally it was somewhere in January).
The two events flowed together and Saint Nicholas became Father Christmas.
The way it is celebrated (gifsts, sweets, etc) is very similar, as is the dress of the figures (though Santaclaus had his mode of dress changed to reflect the colder northern environment he got shifted to for some reason).
Another character that is probably intertwined with Santaclaus is Father Winter, who was supposed to live in a land of eternal ice and snow (sounds familiar??).