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Sinterklaas' assistants are called "Zwarte Pieten" (in Dutch, "Pères Fouettard" in French), so they are not elves.In Switzerland, Pères Fouettard accompanies Père Noël in the French speaking region, while the sinister Schmutzli accompanies Samichlaus in the Swiss German region.Pre-modern representations of the gift-giver from Church history and folklore, notably St Nicholas (known in Dutch as Sinterklaas), merged with the English character Father Christmas to create the character known to Americans and the rest of the English-speaking world as "Santa Claus" (a phonetic derivation of "Sinterklaas").In the English and later British colonies of North America, and later in the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift-giver merged further.Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the San Nicolò al Lido.
Nicholas in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides (compare Odin's horse Sleipnir) or his reindeer in North American tradition.
Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailors, and children to pawnbrokers.
During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour.
Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas' skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave.
These were collected by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and taken to Venice, where a church to St.
with one famous image being John Leech's illustration of the "Ghost of Christmas Present" in Charles Dickens's festive classic A Christmas Carol (1843), as a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur who takes Scrooge through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace.