Parents, make sure the kids aren't reading over your shoulder because it looks like we’re about to have a blue Christmas: Santa Claus is dead.
Archeologists said Wednesday that they might have discovered the ancient tomb belonging to the original Santa Claus, otherwise known as St. Nick, beneath a church in southern Turkey, according to The Washington Post.
“We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor,” Cemil Karabayram, head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, The Telegraph reported.
Karabayram said that it will take time to reach St. Nick’s actual shrine, which researchers believe should be in good condition. There are some “stone reliefs and mosaics that need to be preserved,” according to the New York Post, which will delay the archeologists.
“We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now,” Karabayram said. “We will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of St. Nicholas.”
The tomb sits underneath a church in Demre, which used to be known as Myra, a city in ancient Greece, where St. Nick was originally from.
St. Nick reportedly died around 343 A.D. and was buried in the Demre church sometime in the 11th century, per the New York Post.
There was some confusion about where his remains went. Many believed they were brought to Bari, Italy, but Turkish researchers believed those remains belonged to a local priest, not St. Nick.
So, the good news is that Santa Claus is, technically, real, and not a myth. The bad news is that he’s been dead for a long time.
The legend of Santa Claus has a long history, mostly rooted in folklore. But Saint Nicholas was often known as a gift-giving and charitable person. It was believed he would leave out coins for people who left their shoes out for him.
St. Nick also gave away his inheritance, choosing to help the needy and poor.
As The Washington Post explained, St. Nick’s more candy-loving, modern legend ballooned in the 18th century, drawing inspiration in America from the Dutch tale of “Sinterklass.”
“Now, Santa is all but entrenched in the Christmas lexicon, the rosy-cheeked face of Christmas who is the subject of movies, perennial parental lies and debates about childhood materialism,” according to The Washington Post.
Indeed, research has gone back and forth about whether it’s OK to tell your children about the myth of Santa Claus. The jolly old elf has also been caught up in the culture war clash over the religious underpinnings of Christmas.
But Dr. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, that the idea of Santa Claus should always be embraced.
“Every culture has a fairy tale or myth that belongs to its historical identity,” he told PBS. “If the myths are good and talk about sharing and helping your neighbor, then that’s really nice.”
Demre used to be known as Myra, a city in ancient Greece, where St. Nick was originally from.