Good news! The Santa Clause was not one of those exaggerated stories our parents always tell us about; he was real. How did I learn that? Well, I did not know until a friend of mine asked me where he lived in Turkey? Then I started to research, and I was surprised to learn that his town still exists. The weird thing is that I was born and raised in a city just about four hours away from where he lived a long time ago. I knew nothing about his existence or his town. Then it made sense why they always have a little Santa clause icon on the Mediterranean side of the Turkish map. I should have searched it earlier when I saw the figure, but I did not bother. It is not that I care less to know about him, it is the stories about Santa Clause that made me think of him as an imaginary person. Anyway, what did I do next after I found out? Of course, I ran to his town to see it believe it. After visiting his village here is some information I gathered for you about his life.
1. Where did he live and how do you get there? Demre is a small town part of the city called Antalya in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, back in the days, the town known as Myra. That’s where Santa Clause lived. How do you get there? Easy. Once you land at the airport in Antalya, you have two options; either tell a cab driver to take you to the main bus terminal in the city, or you can cross the other side of the route just right outside the airport and take a bus from there to the central bus station. There are few bus operators to Demre in the main bus terminal, and they operate every 30 minutes or so. It will cost you 22 Turkish lira which is about 7 or 8 dollars. It takes about two or two and a half hour to get there. Once you are in town, you don’t need to worry about getting around because it is a small town with friendly people, great food, and beautiful nature.
2. There are few things you must visit in Demre if you want to get to know Santa Clause better. One of them is the ancient Myra ruins which include tombs and a fantastic theatre, and the second is Santa Clause’s church and his museum, where you can get a feeling of how his life was and also there are vast information if you are willing to deep into it.
3. He was a Greek bishop at his time and was also known as a wonder-worker because of his miracles. Legend has that right after he was born he started walking right away and that was his first miracle. Later in his life, he had helped couples to get pregnant, sick people to get better and farmers to get more production from their crops, etc.,
4. His father name was Epiphanius, and his mother name was Nonna, both of his parents died when he was a little from epidemic sickness. He was the only child and raised by his uncle who was also a bishop.
Saint Nikolas was a wealthy man who inherited so much money from his parents at a young age. He had a reputation for gift giving to kids, low-income families, and women in need. His generosity and kindness made him who he was, and his legacy still lives on all over the world.
5. He was jailed and sentenced to death in Constantinople (present Istanbul). Many said that he was in jail because he saved a few people from torture from king’s soldiers. That incident made the king very mad, and he brought Saint Nicholas to court to decide to end his life. When he was in jail, the king and the judge of the court saw him in their dreams, and that made them free Saint Nicholas because they believed that he was a saint.
6. He was born in 270 and died on December 8th 343; he was 73 years old when he died. Even after so many years of his death one thing remains a mystery, and that is where he buried? In Turkey, Turkish government believes that he was buried on the Turkish island of Gemile. Italy says that some part of his remains removed from Turkey by Italian knights and buried there. Irish government stated that they got some of his remains in the 12th century and buried again in Thomas town, Ireland.
7. How did he become Santa Clause from Saint Nicholas? After his death, people who believed him to be healer went to visit his tomb and asked for help. One of them was a Slovak couple who could not get pregnant, and after they visited his grave, they said that they got pregnant right away. That made people believe that even he is dead, his spirit is still helping people in need. Christians from all over the world gather every year around Christmas time and celebrate his life and what he offered to people in need. After a few decades his name was changed to Santa Clause from Saint Nicholas. Thanks to him and to people who told his life to the whole world we get to have so many presents each year.