Some people attribute the origin of Santa Claus to the legendary St. Nicholas, who was born in Patara, a village in what is now Turkey, in a wealthy Christian family. He became the Bishop of Myra. He was well known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need and for his love for the children. He had given gifts to children anonymously throwing them through the windows of their houses and helped unmarried woman with dowry, so that she may get married! It is said that he had performed several miracles and also helped sailors at sea and saved them from drowning and brought back to life three murdered theological students!!
Roman Emperor Diocletian, who persecuted Christians, arrested him, had imprisoned him and later exiled him. He died on December 6th in AD343, in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church. His tomb in Myra became a popular place for pilgrimage. Because of many wars in this region and also of the religious and commercial advantages, Italian cities wanted to remove the relics of St. Nicholas to their country. It is said that in 1087, some sailors removed his buried bones to Bari and built a church there. St. Nicholas became the Saint of Bari and today pilgrims and tourists visit Bariís great Basilica di San Nicola.
The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration as St. Nicholas day. Sailors claiming St. Nicholas as their patron saint had carried stories about him to various seaports in Europe. As his popularity spread during the middle Ages, he became the patron saint of the people in countries with sea ports such as Italy, Sicily Greece, Netherlands etc. There were about 2000 churches built after his name. In Europe, December 6th is still celebrated as St. Nicholas day, a day for giving gifts to children all over the world which he delivers on Christmas eve.
[tags]famous travelers,travel,Holidays, Santa Clause[/tags]