Coca Cola, Santa Claus and beyond

The western commercialisation of festivals and companies’ push to create market for its goods have established many of the stories and myths we know today. What we know as Santa Claus today associated with Christmas has an eerie similarity to Coca Cola branding. The company is also not shy to admit this[1]. Let’s examine Santa before the push from Coca Cola.

Christians claim Santa Claus of Christmas myths is none other than a historical Christian Saint named Nicholas.

One of the earliest references to “real Santa claus” comes from an early, almost contemporary, account named Stratelatis written around 400 CE. This account and its story has also been corroborated by the high praise of Saint Proclus in his Encomium on Saint Nicholas (440 CE). In these earliest accounts, “Santa Claus” comes in the defence of some prisoners. He threatens emperor Constantine and warns, “Constantine, free the prisoners. If not, I will stir up a revolt against you, and hand over your dead body and your entrails to the wild beasts for food.”

He also threatens a local governor named Ablabius: “Ablabius, free those three men. If not, you will fall ill and end as food for worms, and your whole family will perish evilly.”

This image of Santa Claus issuing death threats is hardly compatible with his image today. 

According to Christian sources., “Santa Claus” was an attendee of the Council of Nicaea convened by Emperor Constantine.

In this council, he slaps a fellow Christian pastor named Arius who had opposed Trinitarian doctrine.

For this physical assault, he was briefly imprisoned.

This deed has been alluded to by his early Hagiographers like Andrew of Crete (8th century) and Michael the Archimandrite (9th century). This image of Santa Claus behaving violently is hardly compatible with his image today. 

The real Santa Claus belonged to Myra (today’s Turkey). Myra housed a great temple to Goddess Artemis. It rivalled the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Santa Claus saw every Non-Christian God as a demon. He waged a crusade against temples. Just about this time, Constantine became first ever Christian emperor in History. Making full use of the opportunity, Santa Claus broke the temple of Artemis with his own hands.

A Christian painting which depicts St. Nicholas/ Santa Claus breaking the idol of Goddess Artemis. Even today, one can find the ruins of the great temple of Artemis lying scattered inside the original Church of Saint Nicholas/ Santa Claus located in his hometown in Myra(Turkey)

According to Christian sources, hundreds of Non Christian temples were broken down by Saint Nicholas/ Santa Claus. Andrew of Crete (8th century) praises Santa Claus as an architect. “For breaking down idols and building Churches in their place.”

“For the Pre-Christian Pagans of Europe, it was not Santa Claus but Goddess Freyja who arrived on Christmas Eve. Until 18th century, even many Christians used to address her as “Mother Christmas. The myth of Santa claus was appropriated from her “- Swedish Historian Ebbe Schön[2].

Finally we come to the point – what does it take to change the image of a person known for destroying temples and showing violent behaviour to be transformed to a children loving, gentle person?

[1] –

[2] – True Indology

True Indology thread –

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