St. Nicholas Day around the world
Next week is St. Nicholas day. For me, December 6th is, like every year, an important component of Christmas Time. Still today, I place my shoes – of course clean and shiny – in front of the door and am pleased when I find them filled with chocolate or other little presents the next morning. Its gonna be great!
But who is the legendary Saint Nicholas anyway? And do also other countries have to clean their shoes to be rewarded by Nicholas, or are there other traditions around?
Who is this St. Nicholas?
Saint Nicholas is one of the most popular saints at catholic church. And in contrast to Santa Claus, he actually lived – in the 4th century in Myra, today’s city of Demre at the Turkish Mediterranean coast. According to the legends, Nicholas was a generous bishop, who used to do good deeds and support the poor and needy. He secretly threw money for poor families with children through the chimney, where it fell into the socks that were hung up there – Hence the tradition of the Christmas stocking! After Nicholas died on December 6th 345, he was canonized. Still today he is said to be the patron saint of travelers, seamen and children. After his death, the adoration of Saint Nicholas in Central and South Europe. Until the 16th century, 2200 churches were built with his name and St. Nicholas Day has been celebrated.
St. Nicholas enjoys worldwide VIP status
Polish your shoes, please…
In Germany, on the evening of December 5th, children put their cleaned shoes in front of the door and hope that St.Nicholas fills them with sweets, toys, fruits and nuts. In some families and regions, St.Nicholas escorted by his companion comes for a visit – with bishop’s robe, white beard and a golden book. He hands out praises and presents for good children, but also gives criticism.
There are many regional traditions and insider tips on where to go in Germany for the St. Nicholas celebrations. A real insider tip is to spend the Pre Christmas and St.Nicholas time on the island Sylt. The popular summer destination is becoming silent, one can peacefully relax in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of tea, or visit the festive markets in many towns. Hotel Niedersachsen is the right place to experience the pre-christmassy magic of Sylt in a sustainable way. With an extraordinary architecture made of natural materials and an elegant wooden facade, running on 100% water powered electricity, you will feel secure – while knowing, you contribute to the protection of the environment.
The gifts of San Nicola
Also in Bella Italia, St. Nicholas is celebrated at December 6. Here, he is called San Nicola, but the procedure is similar to the one in Germany. Little presents and sweets mysteriously find their way to the Christmas platter in front of the children’s bedroom. However, the event of San Nicola does not have such a great significance, as Italy additionally celebrates the Christmas festivities “Santa Lucia” on December 13 and “Befana” January 6.
Who plans a visit in Italy to experience the Italien Christmas Events, stays best at the eco-friendly Agriturismo l’Adagio – a former oil mill in Badalucco.
The home of St.Nicholas
Naturally, also the home region of St.Nicholas from Myra celebrates the St. Nicholas Day. The city of Demre is a place of pilgrimage for Nicholas Fans. Despite its history, the St.Nicholas tradition is relatively new in Turkey. Everything is a little bit different too: Noel Baba does not bring any presents on December 6, but on New Years Eve. Not only children, but everyone is gratified with presents.
Who would like to wander on Nicholas’ traces and needs a place to stay, visits Gloria Verde Resort in Turkey. The resort is awarded with the environmental award “Grüner Stern” und supports projects in different categories, such as education, environment, art and social engagement. A paradise of green nature and the magnificent blue sea surrounds the resort. Its a three hour drive from here to the birth place of St. Nicholas in Myra – a must do, when you are traveling in Turkey.
Carribean St.Nicholas Day
In Curacao, the festivities dedicated to St. Nicholas already begin end of November. By tradition, St. Nicholas travels by ship from Spain and is greeted in the harbor of Willemstad. At the following parade, St. Nicholas goes through the streets with his “Black Peters” to spread little presents. Until the actual St. Nicholas Day, there are further festive events happening on Curacao. On December 6, an old Dutch tradition is celebrated on Curacao. The night before, children prepare a bucket of water and a shoe filled with hay for the white horse of St. Nicholas. While good children find their shoe filled with sweets and toys on the next morning, naughty children need to fear to be put in the sack of “Black Peter”.
The authentic Morena Eco Resort with comfortable, eco-friendly houses and apartments in Willemstad is the perfect location to experience the spectacle live.