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The legend of Santa Claus: Why kids eagerly wait for Christmas?

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New Delhi, Dec 24: It is that time of the year when millions of children count down the days of December and go to sleep on Christmas Eve, anticipating a gift when they wake up next morning. Santa Claus may be a western belief but children all over the world know the legend. They may not know everything about Santa Claus or Christmas, but what they definitely know is that if they behave well throughout the year then Santa will give them a nice present.

The legend of Santa Claus

Parents usually tell children that Santa Claus makes list of children throughout the world, categorises them according to their behavior and gives them presents accordingly. Before the children wake up in on the Christmas the morning, parents keep toys and gifts near their pillow, and kids become happy on getting them.

This is what the Santa Claus belief is:

Once Santa has made his list, checked it twice and finds out who has been naughty and nice, he sets off on his sleigh with his trusty reindeer. During Christmas eve, Santa Claus travels around the world to distribute gifts. Year after year, Children's letters sent to Santa Claus are wish lists for an enormous number of toys, games, dolls and toy cars, while grown-ups commonly ask for health, peace and love for themselves, their family and friends.

In the United States and Canada, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies; in Britain and Australia, he is sometimes given sherry or beer, and mince pies instead. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it is common for children to leave him rice porridge with cinnamon sugar instead. In Ireland it is popular to give him Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding or mince pies.

The Santa Claus legend:

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. During his lifetime, he became famous for defending his people against imperial taxes and other forms of oppression.

After his death, people believed that Nicholas continued to work miracles. His burial place, below the floor of his church, became a popular destination for pilgrims who begged Nicholas to relay their petitions to God.

During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24th and 25 December.

Letter writing to Santa:

Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior. Many postal services allow children to send letters to Santa Claus. These letters may be answered by postal workers or outside volunteers.

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