If we ever stopped to wonder about every single absurdity around us, then we might end up not enjoying and living life as simply as we should.
For instance, the Santa Claus or Father Christmas legend. Is it true or false? Why is Santa always represented as fat and chubby? Couldn't another colour be identified with Santa Claus other than red and white?
Well, the questions often linger, more so, for innocent minds and kids of ours. Anyway, thanks to the efforts of historians. A lot about our favourite Christmas voyager is becoming clear hundreds of years, after the legend began.
Santa Claus vs Saint Nicholas
When it comes to the bearded, red and white-wearing chubby man during the Christmas Yuletide, a lot of mystery surrounds him. But thanks to historians facts about one of the most popular characters in the modern-day, are being unveiled gradually. According to historians, Santa Claus is known to be Saint Nicholas, a historic figure. Saint Nicholas was left a lot of money as inheritance, following the death of his parents.
However, instead of enjoying and pleasuring himself with his new found wealth alone, he chose to help the poor and the needy. He also gave gifts to them, even in secret. He was later made a saint due to his generosity.
Santa Claus and the red colour
Historians over the years have postulated that during the 4th century when Saint Nicholas lived, the saints at the time wore robes made of red and white. Saint Nicholas also wore same colours, as a saint. This is considered to be the reason why our popular image representation of the modern Father Christmas and Santa Claus is red and white.
The Green-wearing 16th Century Father Christmas
In the UK, Father Christmas was introduced around the 16th century, and became the Santa persona of Christmas. Father Christmas at the time wore green (which was meant to signify the arrival of spring) unlike Saint Nicholas who wore red.
However, Father Christmas was seen as cheerful, benevolent and generous like Saint Nicholas, because he gave gifts too. As time went on, both Father Christmas and Santa Claus merged into one entity, leading to the conventional and generally accepted red colour attire.
In 1862, an American cartoonist, Thomas Nast drew a picture of Santa a wearing a tan outfit. But over the next 30 years, it was gradually transformed into a red suit.
The Impact of Coca-Cola on the Santa Claus legend
Coca-Cola launched an advert which was done by an advertising campaign, portraying the fat, cheerful and jolly-good Santa Claus we know of today with a redo coat.
Haddon Sundblom was the man given the responsibility in 1931 by Coca-Cola, to create today's Santa Claus. Coca-Cola wanted something realistic and relatable to customers. Therefore, Sundblom took inspiration from the 1822 poem (in which Santa was described as plump, jolly, rosy-cheeked, having dimples and twinkly eyes) and Thomas Nast's earlier works depicting Santa's red coat around the end of the 19th Century.
Eventually, Coca-Cola kept using the Santa character for Christmas representation, in order to advertise their drinks, even after Haddom Sundblom stopped illustrating Santa Claus in 1964.