The original Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, and how he came to be the international symbol of gift giving at Christmas.
Saint Nicholas was a Catholic Bishop in 4th century Greece (today part of Turkey). He was renowned for his acts of charity during his life.
According to legend, St. Nicholas once anonymously donated gold coins to a poor family to save their daughters from a life of slavery and prostitution. This charitable act lead to the rise of the medieval tradition of gift-giving on December 5th. This is still celebrated in parts of Europe today and is known as St. Nicholas Day.
T his is where the legend of St. Nicholas gets strange. St. Nicholas is believed to have died between 330 and 352. Originally, Nicholas was buried in this tomb here in Myra in present day Turkey. However, his remains were removed and taken to Italy to keep them safe from Muslim invaders.
His remains now rest in Bari, Italy. What’s left of St. Nicholas is part of his jaw and some smaller bone fragments. While this might seem morbidly ordinary at first glance, the bones have a mystical side to them.
According to legends, a strange, oily liquid is said to flow from the bones. The liquid is known as Manna di S. Nicola. or Santa Manna. Every year around May 9th, the liquid is extracted from the bones in an elaborate ceremony. It’s said that the liquid has powerful medicinal properties.
But how did St. Nicholas become Santa Claus then? Well, we have the Dutch to thank for that. The English “Santa Claus” comes from the Dutch word for St. Nicholas, which is “Sinterklaas.” See the similarity there?
Via: Cult Of Weird
That deal with the bones is pretty freaky, I wonder if that Santa Manna actually does anything for your health. Maybe I’ll have to ask for some for Christmas…