Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Sinter Klaas Day

Sinter Klaas - Owen Franken/Corbis

Sinter Klaas comes to New York:

Nicholas made his first inroads into American popular culture towards the end of the 18th century. In December 1773, and again in 1774, a New York newspaper reported that groups of Dutch families had gathered to honor the anniversary of his death.

The name Santa Claus evolved from Nick's Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society's annual meeting. The background of the engraving contains now-familiar Santa images including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace.

In 1809, Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. As his prominence grew, Sinter Klaas was described as everything from a "rascal" with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a "huge pair of Flemish trunk hose."

courtesy of The History Channel

A final bit of trivia: 336 – First recorded celebration of Christmas on December 25 takes place in Rome.

A MERRY CHRISTMAS to my Christian Friends. PEACE ON EARTH is our common prayer.


Juanita said...

For more information about Sinter Klaas/Santa Claus and his Turkish roots, lol- see:

10:17 PM

Stella said...

A really charming article that brings back my childhood in Holland. One difference in the festivities is that while Santa Claus deposits presents in stockings, Sinter Klaas puts them in shoes.