BLACKFOOT- Many students at the elementary schools were all aflutter when Santa Claus came calling. There are so many people who like to become Santa Claus for the holidays. One Santa who had the time in his duties to talk. “I love becoming Santa for these children. They make know me in real life, but to put on the suit and speak to them, there is an extra mysticism that is there.” Even though many adults have fallen by the wayside of believing in Santa, there is a magical aura that surrounds the man.
Without a belief in something life becomes very monotonous. Like Neil Gaiman stated “You have to believe, otherwise, it will never happen.” Believing that one can pass a test, have the courage to talk to a stranger, or believing that ones day will go well are simple beliefs that follow a person into adulthood. One learns to believe as children and our beliefs morph as we grow up.
The original Saint Nicholas of Myra was a fourth century bishop who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor and even helped paying the dowries of a few impoverished daughters so they wouldn’t have to go into prostitution. His remains are in Venice, Italy where many people would take pilgrimages to the church of Saint Nicholas to honor his legacy. Children were given gifts in honor of Saint Nicholas on December 6th during the Middle Ages. Martin Luther tried to change the day of gift giving to interest children in the Christ child instead of veneration of the saints. The Christmas season still gives hold to Christ child’s birth for many Christian religions, yet one cannot help to see Saint Nicholas bringing gifts to the children as well.
The kindly look of Santa Clause is attributed to Odin, the Germanic god who was celebrated during a midwinter event called Yule. Margaret Baker stated “the appearance of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whose day is 25th of December, owes much to Odin, the old blue hooded, cloaked, white-bearded gift bringer of the north. He rode the midwinter sky on his eight footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts. This idea of a bearded bringer of gifts helped morph into the kindly Santa Claus.”
In Dutch folklore, Sinterklaas was a serious, stately man who wore a traditional Bishops alb (or robe) with a long red cape and a golden shepherd’s staff. He writes in the book of Saint Nicholas, and writes notes on all children and indicates whether they have been good or naughty during the year. Hence, the Naughty/Nice list of Santa Claus. Tradition holds that Sinterklaas would ride a steamboat from Spain in mid-November. Black Peter aids Sinterklaas by holding the book of Saint Nicholas. Sinterklaas would give the gifts and spiced nuts to good children, through the chimney and bad behaved children ran the risk of being caught by Black Peter, who carried willow canes for just such an occasion.
As one can see the personage of Santa Claus is just a jumble of legendary Saints from different parts of the globe. He was definitely a real person who helped the public and children through gifts and miracles. Many children in Blackfoot have already received a letter from Santa. Some parents put them on the tree for the children to open on Christmas morning. The traditions hold strong in the area. The Live Nativity was a success on the 21 and 22. People have worked on it year after year, to get the area into the spirit. The magic is there if one chooses to see it.