For some it is a religious festival, for others it is a simple tradition. However, the truth is that Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world; exchanging gifts and greeting cards, family gatherings and meals, colorful Christmas trees and decorations or even caroling… young or old, everyone is looking forward to this festive period. But what do we really know about this tradition?
Thanks to his long white beard and traditional costume, Santa Claus is the universally recognized symbol of Christmas and the holiday season. But have you ever wondered why he only wears red? Why not blue or white?
Santa Claus, symbol of the end of the year celebrations
There are many things that symbolize Christmas, from a reindeer to a snowman to the Christmas tree that we decorate every year. However, there is above all someone who never leaves the minds of the little ones: it is obviously Santa Claus. This curious character, with a protruding belly and white beard, is very popular and appreciated by children, and the reason is very simple: it is he who, aboard his fairy sleigh, brings them gifts up the chimney. Dressed in a dress, long coat, capeline and cap… almost all in red. At this point, we begin to wonder: why this color?
Back to the origins of Santa Claus
Before answering this question that many people ask, let’s go back! The history of Santa Claus dates back to the early 4me century. At the time, a bishop named Saint Nicholas he lived in the small town of Myra, in Asia Minor (now known as Turkey). His family was rich and he had many assets. However, his parents died when he was still young and therefore, being an only child, he inherited all these riches. Saint Nicholas was a good man who had a reputation for helping people in need and enjoyed giving secret gifts to the townspeople. After his death, the legend remained intact and to this day, December 6 is still remembered in some countries.
Transformation of Saint Nicholas into Santa Claus
After the reform of northern Europe in the 16me century, the St. Nicholas stories became less popular. However, it was necessary to continue offering gifts to children, especially during the Christmas party. That is why the name of Saint Nicholas has been changed in several European countries, although its character remains the same. In fact, as reported by BBC news, it was only during the 19thme century that the famous name “Santa Claus” was coined. This one was presented as an old man who distributed Christmas presents to children.
Why does Santa Claus wear red?
Did you know that Santa’s dress was not always red? Once upon a time, the tall, white-bearded man we know today had a very different appearance. Indeed, over the years, his image has undergone transformations that have resulted in his current appearance. Originally, according to the newspaper europe1, Saint Nicholas was dressed in green and traveled on the back of a donkey (according to Belgian legend) or arrived from Spain by boat on his white horse (according to Belgian legend Flanders and the Netherlands).
Regarding his red suit, many attribute it to a Coca-Cola advertising campaign having experienced dazzling success in the 1930s. However, the American soft drink giant is not at the origin of this new look for Santa Claus. In fact, all credit goes to Harper’s Weekly Magazine who published between 1863 and 1886 a series of drawings by Thomas Nast. Through his drawings, the illustrator and cartoonist for the New York newspaper has developed visual characteristics of Santa Claus that are very close to the current myth. But it was not until 1930 and thanks to the drawings of the Swedish artist Haddon Sundblom (who was inspired by the illustrations of Thomas Nast) that Coca-Cola began to spread the new image of Santa Claus through its festive advertising campaigns. Having been the subject of the main character in the company’s advertisements, the new Santa Claus dressed in red has become popular and standardized throughout the world.
Now you will have no doubts about the red Santa Claus costume. Plus, you’ll know exactly what to answer if your child asks you the question.
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