Sinterklaas or Santa Claus

Dear Bloggers,

Every year again I have to explain the story about Sinterklaas and I think everybody should know this.
It is simply part of our ancient history and Saint Nicholas is the patron of the sailors, so it is a mistery to me that my fellow sailor's have not more knowledge of the facts and that is why I am going to explain them to all of you.
Let's start with the story how Santa got invented in the new world.

The History of Santa Claus

17th century: Dutch immigrants brought with them the legend of Sinter Klaas.

1773: Santa first appeared in the media as St. A Claus.

1804: The New York Historical Society was founded with St. Nicolas as its patron saint. Its members engaged in the Dutch practice of gift-giving at Christmas.

1809: Washington Irving, writing under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, included Saint Nicolas in his book "A History of New York." Nicolas is described as riding into town on a horse.

1812: Irving, revised his book to include Nicolas riding over the trees in a wagon.

1821: William Gilley printed a poem about "Santeclaus" who was dressed in fur and drove a sleigh drawn by a single reindeer.

1822: Dentist Clement Clarke Moore is believed by many to have written a poem "An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicolas," which became better known as "The Night before Christmas." Santa is portrayed as an elf with a miniature sleigh equipped with eight reindeer which are named in the poem as Blitzem, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donder, Prancer, and Vixen. Others attribute the poem to a contemporary, Henry Livingston, Jr. Two have since been renamed Donner and Blitzen.

1841: J.W. Parkinson, a Philadelphia merchant, hired a man to dress up in a "Criscringle" outfit and climb the chimney of his store.

1863: Illustrator Thomas Nast created images of Santa for the Christmas editions of Harper's Magazine. These continued through the 1890's.

1860s: President Abraham Lincoln asked Nast to create a drawing of Santa with some Union soldiers. This image of Santa supporting the enemy had a demoralizing influence on the Confederate army -- an early example of psychological warfare.

1897: Francis P Church, Editor of the New York Sun, wrote an editorial in response to a letter from an eight year-old girl, Virginia O'Hanlon. She had written the paper asking whether there really was a Santa Claus. It has become known as the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" letter.

1920's: The image of Santa had been standardized to portray a bearded, over-weight, jolly man dressed in a red suit with white trim.

1931: Haddon Sundblom, illustrator for The Coca-Cola ™ company drew a series of Santa images in their Christmas advertisements until 1964. The company holds the trademark for the Coca-Cola Santa design. Christmas ads including Santa continue to the present day.

1939 Copywriter Robert L. May of the Montgomery Ward Company created a poem about Rudolph, the ninth reindeer. May had been "often taunted as a child for being shy, small and slight." He created an ostracized reindeer with a shiny red nose who became a hero one foggy Christmas eve. Santa was part-way through deliveries when the visibility started to degenerate. Santa added Rudolph to his team of reindeer to help illuminate the path. A copy of the poem was given free to Montgomery Ward customers.

In my country he is still arriving by steamboat and brings his helpers with him, the so called black pete's.

I consider that they should all be arrested as we see the tradition slowly sliding into a commercial feast, and that was absolutely not the meaning of the Sinterklaas celebration.
It is about small gifts and surprises, and not about gifts of hundreds of euros.

Whenever a folk tradition becomes popular, you can be sure that a large company will try to appropriate it for itself.
McDonald’s is masterful at co-oping the latest street trends in music.
Disney has built its empire on claiming ownership in fairy tales and classic children’s literature.
The question of the season is whether Coca-Cola is responsible for our modern-day images of Santa Claus.
This is a common mythology in many circles.
“until 1931, the old saint was a thin, dark man dressed in drab green or brown.

His reincarnation as a plump, twinkling, jolly, white-bearded old chap in a red suit originated in a Coca Cola advertising campaign.
Fortunately for North American children and commercial culture, the Coca-Cola Company did not claim trademark rights or copyright in the figure.
At the beginning of the 1930s, the burgeoning Coca-Cola company was still looking for ways to increase sales of their product during winter, then a slow time of year for the soft drink market.

They turned to a talented commercial illustrator named Haddon Sundblom, who created a series of memorable drawings that associated the figure of a larger than life, red-and-white garbed Santa Claus with Coca-Cola.
Coke’s annual advertisements – featuring Sundblom-drawn Santas holding bottles of Coca-Cola, drinking Coca-Cola, receiving Coca-Cola as gifts, and especially enjoying Coca-Cola – became a perennial Christmastime feature which helped spur Coca-Cola sales throughout the winter (and produced the bonus effect of appealing quite strongly to children, an important segment of the soft drink market).

The success of this advertising campaign has helped fuel the legend that Coca-Cola actually invented the image of the modern Santa Claus, decking him out in a red-and-white suit to promote the company colors – or that at the very least, Coca-Cola chose to promote the red-and-white version of Santa Claus over a variety of competing Santa figures in order to establish it as the accepted image of Santa Claus.

Coca-Cola has happily built an ongoing public relations campaign around this mythology.
The advertisements of Coca-Cola were printed in colour, in magazines and that made the difference and turned him into what he is now.
(Everything else newspapers and television were only available in black and white).
This Christmas season the company is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Sundblom Santa images, complete with an exhibit of past ads, at Lincoln Center in New York City.

And so it goes, that large entertainment and retail corporations falsely claim to be the proper stewards of Santa Claus folklore.
It’s all a fight over whether Santa is the Real Thing…or the real thing.
Well let them claim whatever they want but Santa was just a spin off.
He is an invention of the new commercial world, but please tell your kids the real story, behind this well known personality.
I know which Santa I believe in! Have a nice "Pakjesavond" or should I say a Merry Christmas?

The Old Sailor,


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