It is December 6th, and in this part of the world, a very important visitor appears to bring the Christmas spirit to children around Germany.
Nikolaus (who is not Santa), but a (Sankt Nikolaus or der Heilige Nikolaus), who was probably born around 245 C.E. in the port city of Patara in what we now call Turkey. Very little historical evidence exists for the man who later became the Bishop of Myra and the patron saint of children, sailors, students, teachers, and merchants.
He is credited with several miracles and his feast day is December 6, which is the main reason he is connected with Christmas. In Austria, parts of Germany, and Switzerland, der Heilige Nikolaus (or Pelznickel) brings his gifts for children on Nikolaustag, Dec. 6, not Dec. 25. And yes, ‘ das Christkindl’ still comes with more presents on December 24th!
Children clean their boots and leave them outside the door for Nikolaus to fill them with goodies, nuts, oranges and small gifts (if the children were good). There is a lot more to do with this tradition that is fascinating including the scary devil looking characters that travel with Nikolaus to frighten the children, but those are mostly skipped in our home.
hThe images were taken last night from home and the quiet neighbourhood, and it seems that Nikolaus upgraded from boots to basket on this occasion.
Happy Nikolaus day to you wherever you are…