Saint Nicholas Day The original helper of the poor and down trodden

Posted on: December 5th, 2017 | By Cliff Keith | Blog, Holidays |

Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th. Celebrated mostly in Europe, but is starting to be  celebrated here in the United States today.

Who was Saint Nicholas?

Saint Nicholas Day The original helper of the poor and down trodden
Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th

Saint Nicholas, also known as Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic figure who was a saint and a Greek Bishop born in the third century in the village of Patara. Patara is a village that is now on the southern coast of Turkey.

Nicholas was from a wealthy Christian family who obeyed the words of Jesus. Most notably, the words, to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor”. Nicholas took all of his inheritance and did just that…he gave it away to the sick, needy, and the down trodden. Nicholas was made a Bishop of Myra because of his lifelong calling to God at a very young age.

Saint Nicholas was known throughout the land as a helper to those in need, he adored children, and his passion was for sailors and ships.

Roman incarceration

The Romans incarcerated Nicholas for his faith. And he died on December 6, AD 343 in Myra. Because of all he did  for the poor Saint Nicholas was honored by naming a special holiday after him called St. Nicholas Day.  Observed throughout the world, but only starting to gain grown the United States of America. 

What was St. Nicholas’s plan to help?

Saint Nicholas Day The original helper of the poor and down trodden
Saint Nicholas and Black Peter

What Saint Nicholas did, according to stories and legends passed down for centuries. He would arrive in town dressed in a Bishop’s red robe and MITER. St Nicholas brought his helper Black Peter to help him give gifts to the people. The gifts most commonly given were; coins, individual gifts, cakes, and cookies. The children would find their gifts by looking  in their shoes or stockings hung from the mantle, that they left out for Saint Nicholas. For the bad children Black Peter leaves lumps of coal, potatoes, or switches.

Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas’ feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds.

European tradition

 

Saint Nicholas Day The original helper of the poor and down trodden
Saint Nicholas

Gift giving and merrymaking of the day in Europe is on December 6th. In some parts of Europe the 5th of December is the day for Saint Nicholas to arrive. In European Countries like the Netherlands the celebration  is observed the eve before December 6th. Worth noting the Dutch celebrate by sharing candies (thrown in the doorways), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. The Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint’s horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts.

What was the path others took?

The Dutch who came to America for a new way of life. They took the tradition of Saint Nicholas to New Amsterdam (New York City). They used the Holiday Season Christmas as the way to transform Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus. Escaping their oppression the best they new how the Dutch went to Britain. Eventually, they replaced theirs Saint Nicholas with their new Father Christmas.

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Saint Nicholas Day The original helper of the poor and down trodden.

Saint Nicholas Day The original helper of the poor and down trodden
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