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Santa Claus and Sinterklas, What's the Difference?

By Isny Dewi R

21 December 2020

Santa Claus and Sinterklas are different in each story.

Photo source: Pexels
 
 
Every time before Christmas, we always hear the term Santa Claus or Sinterklas. This figure is always depicted as a white-bearded old man wearing red and white clothes with black boots, and a skullcap on his head, and often makes the sound "ho ho ho ho ho". According to legend, Santa Claus or Sinterklas is also known to always distribute gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
 
But do you know that Santa Claus and Sinterklas are different? For those of you who are curious, here is the explanation.
 
Santa Claus
Santa Claus is inspired by a generous person who loves to share. This legend about Santa Claus is popular in United States. The Santa Claus character is identical to an old man with a big body, white beard, wearing a coat and hat, and carrying a big sack filled with gifts. Santa Claus is also said to always ride a sleigh pulled by nine flying wildebeest. Santa Claus will distribute gifts to the children on Christmas Eve.
 
Sinterklas
Meanwhile, Sinterklas is a representation of Saint Nicholas figure who lived in the 4th century AD. Launching Tirto.id, according to the Church Encyclopedia (2005) compiled by Adolf Heuken, this figure is a bishop of Myra, a small town that was once part of the Roman Empire, which is currently a Turkish territory.
 
Every 6 December, Saint Nicholas throws a party and prepares lots of gifts for children. He also doesn't hesitate to help people who are having distress and need help wholeheartedly. So good, said Meg Cabot in Holiday Princess (2005), Saint Nicholas is considered a saint.
 
In order to ascertain what the real Saint Nicholas looked like, his face was reconstructed from the remains of his bones, until he got the depiction of an old man about 60 years old with brown eyes and gray hair.
 
Saint Nicholas was finally portrayed as a figure of Sinterklas who would visit homes to deliver gifts to the children every Christmas Eve. According to Heuken (2005), the figure of Santa Claus who always brings gifts on Christmas Eve is a true secularization of the figure of Saint Nicholas.

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