St. Nicholas Day: Today is St. Nicholas Day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

On some days, we all revert to our childhoods, Saint Nicholas Day is the perfect time to do so.
Google even chose to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day by putting out some boots and hoping that Saint Nicholas will fill them with some treats. In Germany, their search engine displays a St. Nikolaus drawing that honors the German tradition. Along with Germany, there are many more countries around Europe that are celebrating today.
Saint Nicholas has been known to bring joy to children in many countries. Children prepare their boots, making sure they are cleaned and polished, to receive gifts from the saint.
The Saint is also celebrated in Italy, Turkey, Greece, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Georgia, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Children who were good throughout the year can expect to find their boots filled with coins, oranges, sweets and other gifts. However, the naughty children will receive a rod in their boots, representative of punishment. The saint is kind and forgiving so they seldom get such a “blessing.”
Saint Nicholas is loosely the basis for the mythical holiday figure, Santa Claus, that is most familiar with Americans. The name Santa Claus is originally derived from a winter holiday figure Sinterklaas, celebrated in the Netherlands, Aruba, Belgium and Curacao. Sadly, the traditional meaning of the celebration of Saint Nicholas has been lost. Instead, the US representation of Santa Claus is becoming stronger and more popular.
Every country that celebrates Saint Nicholas has its own traditions and legends related to the saint. When Saint Nicholas Day approaches, the saint also announces the start of the winter holidays like Christmas and New Year, a tradition that most counties who celebrate Saint Nicholas acknowledge.
Fortunately, the saint is generous with everyone, which makes December the perfect time to contemplate the past and hopeful forigve in the future.


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