The character of Santa was inspired by Saint Nicolas Sinterklaas who was originally the person distributing presents to German and French children on 6 December. When the Dutch migrated to the United States in the 19th century, they took with them the traditions of Saint Nicolas Sinterklaas which gradually evolved into Santa Claus. In a drawing by American cartoonist Thomas Nast in , Santa appears as a peddler; a right jolly old elf distributing presents to all children. In , the cartoonist revealed that Santa did not come from the sky but from the North Pole.
Santa Claus in France: le Père Noël
The following year, American writer George P. In , Coca-Cola commissioned Haddon Sundblom to use the character of Santa as a selling point in order to enlarge its market towards a younger public and to help spur sales of the refreshment drink throughout the cold winter. Sundblom based his drawings on some former illustrations published in around before the advertisement depicting Santa clothed in red and white, with white whiskers.
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Thus, Coca-Cola actually only contributed to the popularisation of this new image as a result of marketing campaigns. It was only after the Second World War that Christmas celebrations quickly underwent an unexpected change, which many argued was turning the whole celebration into a capitalist business opportunity.
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Illuminated Christmas trees, Christmas cards, colourful wrapping paper and lots of presents rather than simply putting an orange and a very small gift in a sock were suddenly everywhere. All these new traditions were imported from America, as were Coke and chewing-gum.
In December , the French media reported a particular event which caused a great scandal across the entire country.
The religious authorities of the city of Dijon , Burgundy, decided to crusade against Santa and set fire to an effigy in the cathedral square, in front of a crowd of children and adults! It was their way of protesting against the character of Santa, who they considered to be a usurper and a heretic. A fun fact is that, in , a law was passed in France decreeing that all letters written to Santa would be responded to with a postcard so that when a class writes letters, each pupil gets a response.
More recently, the fireplace has been replaced by the Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, children run to the Christmas tree to see what Santa has left under it for them.
Not everyone is fond of Santa Claus in France. He is accompanied by Father Flog: he is the opposite of Saint Nick. Looking terrible and menacing, he holds a whip to flog naughty children. Yes, Saint Nicolas from Myre was a bishop born in Turkey between and He was a benevolent bishop who protected widows, children and the weak.
Why Does Santa Claus Come Down the Chimney? | Mental Floss
During the Crusades, a relic of Saint Nicholas was brought back to France, and he became the main saint of the Lorraine region. Legend says that Saint Nicholas brought back to life three children murdered by a butcher. And why does he look so much like Santa? Saint Nicholas est maintenant Santa.
The rising of Santa Claus
Well, it's Santa who looks like him! Saint Nick is now Santa. He lost his religious attire, and in the middle of the 19th century, the American artist Thomas Nast gave him the look we know today. His sleigh is pulled by reindeer, and he now lives in the North Pole.
Camille Et bien quelle histoire. Wow, what a story. Well, I'm going to buy a gingerbread Saint Nick for my daughter Leyla, she loves gingerbread! Share Flipboard Email. Click here to access the story about the French Santa in French only.