Saint Vassilis (Saint Basil or Agios Vassilios)
“…Ai Vassilis comes from Caesarea…”
The Greek popular Christmas carol correctly determines the place of origin of Saint Vassilis (Ai Vassilis or Agios Vassilios), who has become a world symbol of love and offers, and thanks to this the people of the world have the opportunity to show mercy and charity and the children of world “to see” their wishes turn into reality.
Thanks to Saint Vassilis, all of humanity for a few days changes style, becoming more human, more cheerful.
Therefore Ai Vasilis exists with the significance that, even if he does not live in body, his spirit surrounds our hearts each Christmas and New Year.
The fable of Ai Vassilis and Santa Claus on our planet, with the distribution of gifts to children, paradoxically involves two Orthodox Saints, two different persons, but both of whom were also bishops and of Christian origin.
For the countries of the West the one that brings the gifts to the poor and the children is Saint Nikolaos (Nichlaus) or Santa Claus, whom we honour and celebrate in Greece on 6 December and consider him the protector of seamen.
In the history of Saint Nikolaos as protector of the poor and the children, the populations of the north (Netherlands, Finland, etc.) combined bits and pieces from ancient fables, such as the northern stars, the sleigh, etc.
Thus, with the passing of time the fable of Saint Vassilis also reached our country, namely the plump man with round glasses and white beard, with a red uniform and magic abilities that lives in the North Pole and is surrounded by snow fairies. It is a really enchanting story.
Ai Vassilis with the gifts does not only limit himself to the narrow confines of Christianity, for we see him exceed his power and conquer the hearts of all persons worldwide. The custom with the gifts of Saint Vassilis is the most popular of all over the entire New Year celebrations, especially for the children that impatiently wait for the gifts!