Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Day


St. Nicholas

Strictly speaking, the tradition of St. Nicholas is not synonymous with the role of Santa Claus in the U.S..  As practiced in many European countries, the celebration of St. Nicholas is separate from the Christmas holidays, and occurs during the 2 weeks prior to December 6th, which is St. Nicholas's day. Sometimes St. Nicholas Day is the main holiday for gift giving, and not Christmas.

Did you know that?  Now you do.

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.

Hopefully you have all been good and the jolly fat man will come visit you on the 25th.  Maybe this year we should all want a little less…and give just a little more. 

Now that would be a great Christmas attitude!

Life is good in paradise, y’all!


Barb and TheDailyGs said...

Perhaps St. Nicholas will calm the raging seas so Miss Bee and Charlie can have a lovely cruise!

We don't want anything for Christmas at our house. We usually do little token remembrances... For instance, I'm crocheting hats and scarves for everybody this year. It's taking longer than I anticipated but I'm enjoying it! :)

Big hugs xoxo

Haley D. said...

The French have a rather gruesome yet amazing tale of St. Nicholas. I will see if I can find a link to share it with you. It's too long for me to retell here!

Jean said...

No gifts here, except for the kids... The gifty stuff is always about the kids. I mailed them out on Saturday so they'll arrive in time for their family celebration in TN.

Sandee said...

Thanks for the history lesson on St. Nicholas. I didn't know this at all.

We don't do gifts either except for the little ones and we only have one of those right now. We give way more than anything else. We like it that way too.

Have a terrific day honey. Big hugs. :)

ivana said...

Ciao Sandy!

Your tale is right, I think you visited the crypta in S. Nicola Cathedral in Bari, many pilgrims most from many eastern states come to venerate the Saint!
My swiss friend bakes Graettimannen, the small figures made with dough, I 'll bake them tomorrow for the kids!
Last Sunday in the ortodox Churches was given the salted blessed Bread!

Big hugs!