Hanging stockings up is one of the most delightful traditions in Christmas. Even Christians that live in warmed regions and do not have a fireplace, hang up stockings as a part of their Christmas celebrations. Most Christians believe that on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus comes down the chimney and leaves a present for children that have been nice all year round in the hanging stockings. While the tradition has been a part of Christmas celebrations for many centuries now, the reasons behind it are not always clear to everyone. We explore the legendary basis behind the tradition of hanging up stockings at Christmas.
The story goes thus…
There are plenty of legends surround Santa Claus but the legends of the gift giving Saint Nicolas vary from region to region throughout Europe. The story of the stocking stuffing Santa however is attributed to the Greek-Christian bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra who lived in what is now Turkey way back in the 4th century. Legend has it that the bishop was already quite well known for helping the poor with gifts and whatever else they needed to survive.
It is said that good old Saint Nick heard about an impoverished but very devout Christian man who had three daughters. Having no resources to pay for their dowries, the girls were faced with the hard and only choice of becoming prostitutes to sustain themselves since no man would have married a girl who didn’t bring a dowry. Being kind hearted and a person who undoubtedly had a stash of gold coins in his basement, Saint Nick throw bags of gold coins down the family’s chimney which fell in the stockings that the girls had pegged on the mantle above their fireplace to dry overnight and thus the legend of Santa Claus leaving presents in stocking was born.