The start of holidays means certain things like Christmas trees, decorations, desserts, fairy lights become a common sight. And of course, how can anyone forget about Santa Clause? A big, chubby, old man, with a white long beard who rewards people for being kind and compassionate.
We have all heard the tale of Santa flying in the sky on his cart led by reindeers. Leaving out cookies for Santa and staying up the night before Christmas is a typical part of every other person’s childhood.
However, we all eventually found out that the legend Santa was just a part of a childhood. Unfortunately, most of us also stopped believing in other related things, such as Christmas Eve miracles.
Recently, some researchers have said that it may not all just be words and folklore. The big old man, hanging out gifts may just be a real person, after all.
Was Santa Claus Real?
According to theories on the existence of Santa Claus, the whole story was based on a real man – a Christian bishop with the name of St. Nicholas.
From the data on the bishop so far, we know that St. Nicholas was born in the third century in Turkey. The area at that time was a part of the Greek empire and far different from modern-day Turkey.
St. Nicholas was believed to be among the most pious men living in the region, who dedicated his life to helping needy people and especially children.
People have so far claimed that the story of Santa Claus was inspired from St. Nicholas. Like the priest, the fictional Santa would travel around the world, helping the less fortunate. Oh, and he loved children as well!
Was St. Nicholas A Real Person?
Some suggest that just like Santa Claus, the life and character of St. Nicholas was a local tale in Greek region at the time. It just existed in different forms and fragments in other areas and collectively became one in the form of the legend of Santa.
However, some research held at the University of Oxford suggests otherwise. The researchers conducting the study found ancient bone fragments extracted from churches around the world. So far, they believe that these bones belong to no other than St. Nicholas himself.
Read about the discovered bones in detail here.
What Did the Study Show?
Basilica di San Nicola, a crypt in Bari, Italy has been known to store some remains which were believed to be of St. Nicholas since the year 1087 AD. The remains were originally brought there by Italian merchants 700 years following the death of St. Nicholas that was around 343 AD.
Since various merchants visited Italy, the remains scattered in different churches around the world. The challenge faced by the researchers was to find out whether all of them were of the same person.
Tom Higham — a director of the Relics Cluster at the Advanced Studies Centre at Oxford’s Keble College — along with the team used radiocarbon dating on samples of the bones. From this testing, it was found that these bones were from the 4th century – the same time of St. Nicholas’s death.
What Was the Conclusion?
So far, the researchers have not tested all the bones that are linked to St. Nicholas. As soon as they discover more bones, they will continue the tests.
Right now, the theory is that these bones may be of St. Nicholas as they come from the same period. But further testing may be required for confirmation.