Chronology of St. Claus: from history to art to business

270-280 Born in village Patara, Lycia, in southern coast of minor Asia (part of present Turkey).
c 300 Ordained as bishop for decades and well-known for his generosity. Beside his heart gentleness, he was known for radical view against paganism: he ruined Myra temple of Arthemis.

Artfak koin yang menggambarkan kuil Artemis di Myra yang diruntuhkan oleh Sinterklas.
Artfact 4 century coin of Myra temple of Artemis ruined by historic St. Claus.
 325 Attending Council of Nicene 1
December 6, 343  Died in Myra, Turkey.
c 400 Honored by Eastern church.
c 540 A basilica was built on his tomb.

Center of Basilica built on tomb of St. Nicholas.
Center of Basilica built on tomb of St. Nicholas.
842 First written life of St. Nicholas listing all his miracles, by Methodius, Bishop of Constantinople.
850 The Clergy of Cologne Cathedral were commemorating the death of the saint by giving fruit and cookies to the boys of the cathedral school.This tradition, then, spread across Europe and transform into European tradition in welcoming Christmas.
 987 Became favorite Saint in Russia since the first Tsar Vladimir I. Folklore on St. Nicholas spread widely thorough the world from this country. Hundreds years later, Clement Clarke More in 1823 wrote a fictional poem of St. Nicholas coming from the North Pole, which was Russia’s territory.

St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas.
 May 9, 1087 Italian  sailors took his bones and brought them to Bari, Italy. It has been commemorated with St. Nicholas festival in Bari, Italy, lasting to present.

St. Nicholas festival in Bari, Italy has been held since 1087 to commemorate his relic arriving at Bari, Italy.
St. Nicholas festival in Bari, Italy has been held for 10 centuries since 1087 to commemorate his relic bones taken to Bari, Italy.
c  1100  French nuns began giving candy and gifts to needy children on December 6th, St. Nicholas feast day. (Candy was an expensive gift. Only rich family could buy candy for their children. Candy was special and expensive gift for children of the poors)
 1119 The life of St. Nicholas was written by Jean, a Norman monk.
 1410 St Nicholas also became a subject of folklore. First evidence of folklore in picture from 1410 was created.

Folkore on St. Nicholas in 1410 post card.
Folkore on St. Nicholas in 1410 post card.
December 6, 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived in Haiti on December 6th, naming the port “St. Nicholas”. St. Nicholas was considered as patron among European sailors. It was the first time St. Nicholas introduced to America.
 1809 Fictive history “Knickerbocker’s History of New York” fictionalized St. Nicholas as an elf.

This fictional literary work of art firstly depicted St. Nicholas as an elf.
Fictional history firstly depicted St. Nicholas as an elf.
1821 First literary work of art materialized folklore of St Nicholas into a book.

First book materialized folklore of St. Nicholas into a book.
First book materialized folklore of St. Nicholas into a book.
 1823 Poem “A visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore fictionalized St. Nicholas as an old elf, which can fly and come from North Pole (which was Russia’s territory in this time).

Poem book “A visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore.
 1864-1886 Thomas Nast painted caricatures of St. Nicholas based on poem “A visit from St. Nicholas”.

Thomas Nast's St. Nicholas caricature, a prototype for modern St. Claus.
Thomas Nast’s St. Nicholas caricature, a prototype for modern St. Claus.
 1867  USA bought Alaska in North Pole from Russia. This decision resulted in image “Santa Claus from America” for next centuries and eliminated Russia trace in St. Nicholas story according to fictional literary work version.
 1931  Haddon Sundblom and Coca-Cola created business-version St. Claus based on Nast’s caricature and poem “A visit from St. Nicholas”. But, their St. claus was human, not old elf.

Business-version caricature of St. Nicholas by Huddon Sunblom and Coca-Cola for advertisement purpose. This version dictates modern St. Claus all over the world. Remember, it is not about religion, instead, business.
Business-version caricature of St. Nicholas by Haddon Sundblom and Coca-Cola for advertisement purpose. This version dictates modern St. Claus all over the world. Remember, it is not about religion, instead, business.
1950s Coca-cola knew the original version of St. Claus.

Coca-cola knew original version of St. Nicholas. This caricature was closer to real St. Nicholas than American caricature of St. Claus.
Coca-cola knew original version of St. Nicholas. This caricature was closer to real St. Nicholas than American caricature of St. Claus.
 1960-present  Coca-cola successfully increased its sales using St. Claus. This motivated other companies to follow its success. “Me too” strategy of following Coca-Cola has been spreading globally business-version St. Claus caricature.
2014 Reconstruction of St. Nicholas from bones and icons by Professor Caroline Wilkinson and Mark Roughley from John Moore University.

Reconstructed historic St. Nicholas.
Reconstructed historic St. Nicholas.
2015 There are two versions of St Nicholas:

  1. Historical real St. Nicholas (religious version).
  2. Caricature and business-versions of St. Nicholas (secular version).

Don’t confuse them! Secular St. Nicholas has nothing to do with religious version.

Behind: Historical St. Nicholas. Left: Caricature-version of St. Nicholas by Thomas Nast. Right: Business-version St. Nicholas by Sundbloom and Coca-Cola
Behind: Historical St. Nicholas. Left: Caricature-version of St. Nicholas by Thomas Nast. Right: Business-version St. Nicholas by Sundbloom and Coca-Cola

Bibliography

1http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/; access 5/18/2015

2http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/timeline/; access 5/18/2015

3http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-john-moores-university-professor-8234749; access 5/18/2015

4http://www.livius.org/mu-mz/myra/myra2.html; access 5/18/2015

5ttp://www.bargrad.ru/_mod_files/ce_images/photoalbum/generated/gal_130_47d295b3ja_43d10665tr_600x399_pc.jpg; access 5/18/2015

6http://www.italydestination.com/en/event/39-saint-nicholas-celebration; access 5/18/2015

7http://pastispresent.org/2009/good-sources/christmas-treasures-flip-through-the-pages-of-the-children%E2%80%99s-friend/ ; access 5/4/2015

8http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3437144; access 5/4/2015


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