Santa Claus is now an international folk saint who distributes gifts to children and adults who have been “good” during the year. The known presence of a big old man with a red suit, white beard, always smiling with a bag of gifts, on a sleigh pulled by reindeer or deer is the most beloved hero of children even in countries non-Christian.
It is exactly the same as “Father Christmas” by the British, the “Pere Noel” in French, the “Klaas-arresters” Dutch, “the Vainachtsman” the Germans, the “Lam-Kung Kung” (= the Good old father) of the Chinese, the “Choteiso” the Japanese.
For Orthodox Christians, Santa Claus is St. Basil, who lived in Cappadocia and spent almost his entire life helping his fellow men and considered in world history as the initiator and creator of the first organized philanthropy. According to tradition, St. Basil had dark eyes and a beard . Basil died on January 1st, 379AD. This date of his death, according to the tradition, was the one that brings blessing and good luck in the new year . New Year carols’ main character is Basil for his work which reminds landlords to resume course for the benefit of children who sing them.
In the West, the face of St. Basil has been identified with St. Nicholas who was also famous for his generosity. In the history of St. Nicholas the northern peoples added elements of their own traditions (reindeer, sleigh, star of the north, long socks, etc.) a culture that accompanies him until today.
Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas (Santa Claus)
In the West, the face of St. Nicholas, is called Santa Claus and is associated with Christmas and the gift exchange . In Greece, the same form of Santa Claus (Santa Claus) who wears red clothes and has a white beard is in fact the symbolism that refers to Saint Nicholas and also contains elements from pagan pre-Christian beliefs about the “father of snow” etc.
Greek data in the conversion seems to be passed around during the decade of 1950-1960, especially in the urban population with greeting cards introducing the “Western” Santa Claus.