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XMAS > サンタクロースのモデルになった「聖ニコラウス」って?

サンタクロースのモデルになった「聖ニコラウス」って?

2017年1月1日

クリスマスイブの夜に、ベッドに大きな靴下をくくりつけておくと、眠っている間にサンタクロースがやってきて、こっそり靴下の中におもちゃなどのプレゼントを入れてくれる。25日の朝、目覚めると欲しかったプレゼントを見て大はしゃぎ!

 

そんなサンタクロースにはモデルがいるのです。一体どんな人なのか、そして靴下や赤い服の由来などサンタクロースにまつわるトリビアをご紹介!ぜひクリスマスパーティーなどで話のネタにしてみてください。

 

サンタクロースのモデルは「聖ニコラウス」

サンタクロースのモデルは「聖ニコラウス」という人物。英語の「セント・ニコラウス」のオランダ語読みが「サンタ・クロース」なのです。この人物は、4世紀、小アジアのミュラという地で司教を務めたといわれており、貧しい人を哀れみ、善行を行っていたことで知られていたとか。死後、聖人としてあがめられ、後に12月6日を「聖ニコラウスの祭日」とされたのだそうです。

 

ところで、サンタクロースは夜中こっそりプレゼントを置いていくという話を聞きますが、これは後々に作られたスタイルのようです。実際、聖ニコラウスは、しもべと共に子どもたちの前に登場し、しもべに対して叱ったり、怒鳴ったりして子どもたちを怖がらせてから、良い子には袋の中のプレゼントを、悪い子には訓戒の後に何らかのプレゼントを与えたのだそうです。

なぜ靴下を用意するの?

ところで、なぜ靴下を置くようになったのでしょうか?実は聖ニコラウスにはこんな伝説があります。ある貧しい家の娘が、お金がないことで結婚できずにいるところを憐れんだニコラウスは、煙突から金貨を投げ入れたのだそうです。そしてその金貨は、暖炉のところに吊るされていた靴下の中に落ちたといわれています。娘はその金貨のおかげで、結婚式を挙げられたのだそうです。

 

あの飲料が発端だった?!

ところで、サンタクロースは赤い服を着ているイメージが定着していますよね。これは、聖ニコラウスが生前、赤い司祭服を着ていたというのが元になっているようです。そしてさらにそのイメージが定着したのは、あの「コカ・コーラ」の飲料の宣伝のために1931年に描かれたサンタクロースが、口に白いあごひげをたくわえた陽気で太ったおじさんで、赤い服を着ていたから。以後、赤い服はもちろん、あのおなじみの太ったおじさんのサンタクロース像が定着していったといわれています。

トナカイは赤鼻のルドルフだけじゃなかった?!

サンタクロースといえばトナカイが引くソリに乗ってやってくる伝説がありますよね。もともと聖ニコラウスはロバに乗って子供たちの家を訪問していたそうですが、後に詩人によって8頭のトナカイがソリを引くストーリーが作られたのだそうです。

 

トナカイといえば、赤鼻の「ルドルフ」が有名ですが、8頭の中にはおらず、暗い夜道を照らすことができるピカピカ光る赤鼻を持つ9番目のトナカイ「ルドルフ」が、急きょそりを引くことになったのだそうですよ。

 

まとめ

クリスマスのサンタクロースの伝説を知ると、なんだかクリスマスイブが待ち遠しくなってきますよね。ぜひお子さんにも教えてあげてください。

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