On December 6th, it is Saint Nicholas Day. This day is the beginning of the Christmas and festive activities in several countries in Europe. This day is celebrated because it is the date when Saint Nicholas died in 354; he is one of the most popular saints in Christianity – and also arguably linked to Father Christmas or Santa Claus.
According to the story, Saint Nicholas was a bishop of the city of Myra in Asia Minor, who was persecuted by the Romans in the fourth century and was released under the command of the Emperor Constantine I. Among the acts of kindness that he is known for is the fact that he defended the holy child, saved three girls from prostitution, saved sailors from the storm and gave generous gifts to poor people. According to the legend this is why he is known as the saint patron of children, sailors, unmarried girls and others.
In Germany, children celebrate by putting shoes, wooden shoes or socks on the bedroom door or in front of the chimney of their house so that Saint Nicholas can insert gifts, candies or fruit inside them. Young adults also receive presents. In countries like Switzerland, Holland and parts of Austria it’s also celebrated and children go to church to recite the catechism before being rewarded with apples, nuts and gifts.
In the rest of the world the celebration of Saint Nicholas has been transformed and now has an American touch. The Saint will not travel around the world to deliver gifts to children until Christmas Eve.
How is the feast of Saint Nicholas celebrated in your country?