Santa Claus the Myth Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1416 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

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Nicholas with "Father Frost," who brought in the new year, but now that religious practices are again accepted, many Russians have reinstated the old traditions again (Author, DATE).

Beliefs about Santa Claus in the United States reflect the country's mixed ethnic heritage, combining elements from other countries and at a little marketing. In the United States, children believe that Santa Claus makes the presents he gives at the North Pole, and that he visits every home on Christmas Eve, flying in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. He can provide exactly the toy each child wants -- if the child has been good all year. In the judgment of "good" and "bad" children, we see the influence of Dutch traditions as well as Nordic ones. Sinterklaas' practice of walking through the villages to get behavioral reports on children wasn't practical for a country the size of the United States. In America, children are typically told that Santa just magically knows who has and has not been good. As in all the St. Nicholas traditions, Santa Claus brings presents for children only.

Christmas traditions in the United States, including those involving Santa Claus, have changed over the centuries since the first Europan settlers arrived here. For instance, the Puritans frowned any kinds of celebrations. They were not allowed to give gifts, sing Christmas carols, or even light a candle in honor of the day. However, when the Dutch came to New York, they were under no such restrictions, and brought their Sinterklaas traditions with them (Rumela, 2004).

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Santa Clause, as "St. A. Claus," appeared in Colonial media for the first time in 1773. In 1804, the New York Historical Society gave St. Nicholas traditions a boost when it adopted him as their patron saint. Presumably, Dutch history in New York City had influence on this decision. In addition, the members of this group exchanged gifts as the Dutch did (Rumela, 2004).

Term Paper on Santa Claus the Myth of Assignment

The Dutch influence continued when Diedrich Knickerbocker (Washington Irving) wrote a history of New York, during which he had Sinterklaas ride into New York City on a horse (Author, DATE). Later he rewrote that story and had the jolly man arriving in a flying wagon. The developing Amiercan traditions were solidified when Clement Clarke Moore wrote his famous poem "The Night Before Christmas." By the 1860's, Americans had seen various drawings of Santa Claus, and merchants had begun to use his image for marketing (Rumela, 2004).

By the 1920's, a universal view of what Santa Claus looks like had emerged, a fat man with a white beard and red suit and hat with white fur trim. The Coca-Cola Company may have made the most influential use of Santa Claus in marketing: between 1931 and 1964 they created an image each year of Santa Claus drinking their product. Other additions to the story followed, expanding on the story without contradicting it, such as the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Rumela, 2004).

Stories about Santa Claus have also seeped into entertainment. "Miracle on 34th Street, " a movie about a little girl who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, again reflects the jolly old man's marketing power. Macy's uses the parade to promote itself as the store where children can visit Santa. Many other movies, cartoons and songs have been written about Santa Claus.

Today's stories about St. Nicholas have strayed so far from the original story about a bishop in Asia Minor that little remains, at least in the United States, about the original person. However, the charm of the stories make the stories about Santa Claus a favorite for many who celebrate Christmas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Author not given. "Vladimir I Brought Christianity and St. Nicholas to Russia," in St. Nicholas Center. Accessed via the Internet 12/4/04.

Maas, Monica. 2004. "St. Nicholas Center: Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus." St. Nicholas Center. Accessed via the Internet 12/4/04.

University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). 2004. "St. Nicholas Day: December 6th." Accessed via the Internet 12/4/04.

"Who is Santa Claus?" In Welcome to Rumela's Web. 2004. Accessed via the Internet 12/4/04. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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