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Santa Claus statue at Santa Claus Land in Santa Claus, Indiana (1955)

Santa Claus or Sinterklaas are alterations of the name and mission of "Saint Nicholas", a historical bishop in Myra, Lycia (now part of Mediterranean Turkey).


St. Nicholas was reputed for secretly giving to the poor in the late third century. In some countries, anonymous seasonal gifts are attributed to him; in others, Father Christmas (French: Père Nöel), Father Frost (Russian: Ded Moroz - Дед Мороз, Belarusian: Дзед Мароз, Ukrainian Дід Мороз), the three wise men or the baby Jesus are attributed as secret gift givers.

The Nordic incarnation of Santa Claus is based on the tomte (nisse in Norwegian), a gnome-like creature who protected a farm; see also Nordic folk culture.


Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland

There are multiple destinations named for Santa Claus or St. Nicholas, or named or known for various related themes such as the North Pole:

The Canadian post office has a program for handling letters to Santa; they are answered by volunteers. His postal code follows the Canadian pattern, alternating letters and digits; it is H0H 0H0.

See also[edit]

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