Thousands of children have received the arrival of Saint Nicholas yesterday (December 6th), in different countries of Europe, like The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany or Austria, among others. This is a yearly event in which there are always gifts and sweets for the good kids.
Who was Sant Nicholas?
Born in Turkey in the 4th Century bC, Nicholas was always a good man. He inherited a big fortune which he used to serve the poor. He went to live to the city of Mira (Anatolia).
The legend says that, one day, different priests were discussing about who would be the next priest. They agreed that the next person who entered the temple would be chosen. And casually it was Nicholas.
Many miracles are attributed to him. But maybe the most famous act that is remembered is having saved three young sisters from prostitution. Their father, who was extremely poor, forced the poor girls. But Nicholas dropped gold through their chimney, which miraculously fell into some stockings which were hanging to be dried.
Nicholas died on December 6th, on year 343 in Mira. But he rests in the Italian city of Bari.
Through the centuries, people speak about this saint as a good and pious man. And he has been associated to children, who celebrate his day awaiting for a gift, sweets or gifts.
He gets to Germany on a donkey.
"Sant Nikolaus" visits German kids on the 5th and 6th of December. He comes on a loyal and tame donkey, giving away sweets and gifts. Since the 16th Century, children left him a shoe beneath the chimney. This celebration opens the festivity and tradition circuit in December, such as The Advent or the Christmas Markets.
He gets to The Netherlands on a boat... from Spain!!!
"Sint-Nicolaas", in Dutch, is called popularly "Sinterklaas". According to the tradition, he also comes to The Netherlands and Belgium to bring sweets to the good children by the begining of December. But the tradition says that he comes sailing on a boat from Spain! Since 1934, he travels on a steamboat, and he comes with helpers who throw cookies to people. As soon as he gets of the ship, he rides a white horse with which he will fly over the rooftops.
We should not confuse Saint Nicholas with Santa Claus, who comes on Christmas Eve, and who was originated when the tradition migrated to the old European colonies in America.
What event do you celebrate now that the year is ending?