Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father
Christmas and simply "Santa", is a figure with
legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins
who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts
to the homes of the good children during the late
evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December
24. The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure
of Sinterklaas, which, in turn, may have part of its
basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical
figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas. A nearly identical
story is attributed by Greek and Byzantine folklore to
Basil of Caesarea. Basil's feast day on January 1 is
considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for
the Christian figure of Sinterklaas. He was a 4th
century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in
Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in
Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to
the poor, in particular presenting the three
impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with
dowries so that they would not have to become
prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age
and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In
continental Europe (more precisely the Netherlands,
Belgium, Austria and Germany) he is usually portrayed
as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.
In the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, Saint
Nicholas ("Sinterklaas", often called "De Goede
Sint"—"The Good Saint") is an elderly, stately and
serious man with white hair and a long, full beard. He
wears a long red cape or chasuble over a traditional
white bishop's alb and sometimes red stola, dons a red
mitre, and holds a gold-coloured crosier, a long
ceremonial shepherd's staff with a fancy curled top.
In the Netherlands the Dutch celebrate on the evening
of December 5, with a celebration called "pakjesavond".
In the Reformation in 16th-17th century Europe, many
Protestants and others changed the gift bringer to the
Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date for giving
gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.
I created this arrangement with Jenne Van Antwerpen for
two beautiful Belgian children Soetkin and Katelijn.
This arrangement uses Flute and Concert (Pedal) Harp.