St. Nicholas Day...December 6

Our family is of German heritage, and we have always celebrated St. Nicholas Day with the children. On the night of December 5, the children put their shoes by the door of their bedrooms, and St. Nicholas comes to fill them with money, candy, and clothing...which they discover the next morning. It's a special time to remember our ancestors and share the fun with the children. It also commemorates the story of a Saint of God.

The History

St. Nicholas was born in 271 AD and died around December 6, 342 or 343 AD near the Asia Minor (Turkey) town of Myra,. where he later became Bishop. He performed many good deeds and was a friend to the poor and helpless, and upon his death, myths soon sprang up about him all around the Mediterranean Sea. He was reputed to be able to calm the raging seas, rescue desperate sailors, help the poor and downtrodden, and save children. He was soon named as the patron saint of sailors, and when Myra was overthrown, his bones were transported by sailors to Bari, a port in Italy, where a tomb was built over the grave and became the center of honor for St. Nicholas. From here the legend spread on around to the Atlantic Coast of Europe and the North Sea to become a European holiday tradition regardless of religion.

The Holiday Today

In anticipation of St. Nicholas's nightly visits, children in several European countries put their shoes in front of the fire place. They sing traditional songs and provide a carrot or hay for the horse. At night Black Pete puts gifts and candy in the shoes.

In the Netherlands, families celebrate St Nicholas's birthday the night before his feast day (December 6th). At one point during the evening, a loud knock will herald the arrival of Sinterklaas and at the same time candy may be thrown from upstairs; when the door is opened, a bag of gifts will be on the doorstep.


Gemma said…
Interesting to learn of St. Nicholas day!! Wishing you a happy one!
Teri C said…
What a beautiful St.Nick. I am of German descent also so I really appreciate this post of yours.

I also wanted to tell you how happy I am to hear you progressing so well with your recovery.
Mrs. Goodneedle said…
I love this! Thank you for this post... my daughter and I volunteer to do Bible study together each summer at our church camp in the mountains of North Carolina. We always do "Chistmas in July" week (whatever week the 25th falls in that summer) and focus on Christmas and Advent at a time in the year when the children can turn their attention to the story as opposed to what society is doing at that time in December. One of my fondest memories will always be our camp director (A Lutheran Pastor, too of German heritage!)telling the story of St. Nicholas on his day, while dressed the part... the children are always in awe! Thanks, Sioux!
PEA said…
Hi Sioux...thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving coments:-) I always love "meeting" new people!! I use to have a penpal in Germany and she had explained to me the whole story about St. Nicholas and I found it so fascinating...loved the idea of the shoe getting filled with candy and little gifts:-) I love the look of your blog and shall be back!! Hugs xox
Sue said…
I love that you've posted the story of St. Nicholas. My oldest grandson is Nicholas!
AnastasiaC said…
I love the vintage image! sounds like some wonderful Christmas traditions!
tinker said…
Thanks for the interesting background of St. Nicholas!
I enjoyed reading your account.
Hope you enjoyed his day today!
Awesome post about St.Nick...interesting history there!
Have a great day!
JaKo said…
Thank you for your story about St.Nicholas. Btw.,this custom with shoe filled with candies and small gifts is still vivid in our country , nice surprise for everyone morning after :-)

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