Saint Nicholas (Greek: Ἅγιος Νικόλαος, Hágios Nikólaos, Latin: Sanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Νικόλαος ὁ Θαυματουργός, Nikólaos ho Thaumaturgós). His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.
The Term Santa Claus
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa (Santy in Hiberno-English), is a legendary figure of Western culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved (“good” or “nice”) children on Christmas Eve (24 December) and the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December). The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra, the British figure of Father Christmas, the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself based on Saint Nicholas), the German figure of the Christkind (a fabulized Christ Child), and the holidays of Twelfth Night and Epiphany and their associated figures of the Three Kings (based on the gift-giving Magi of the Nativity) and Befana. Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic god Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.
A candy cane or peppermint stick is a cane-shaped stick candy often associated with Christmastide, as well as Saint Nicholas Day. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint, but is also made in a variety of other flavors and colors.