Thursday, December 06, 2012
Saint Nicholas Day
When : Always December 6
St. Nicholas Day is today. Yes, there really was a christian Saint Nicholas. He lived in the country of Greece, just a couple hundred years after the birth of Christ. This day is in honor of Saint Nicholas and his life.
Saint Nicholas became a priest, and later, a Bishop of the early Catholic Church. True to the christian concept of giving up belongings and following Christ, St. Nicholas gave up all of his belongings. He was well known for giving to needy people, especially children. There are may stories and tales of him helping out children in need.
The practice of hanging up stockings originated with Saint Nicholas. As the ancient legend goes, Saint Nicholas was known to throw small bags of gold coins into the open windows of poor homes. After one bag of gold fell into the stocking of a child, news got around. Children soon began hanging their stocking by their chimneys "in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there".
It wasn't until the 1800's that the spirit of St. Nicholas' life evolved into the creation of Santa Claus. And, this happened in America. Santa Claus emerged (or evolved) from the stories and legends of St. Nicholas. Santa Claus was kind and generous to children. Unlike "St. Nick", Santa Claus is largely a non-religious character.
The three pictures on this page, are a good example of the evolution from St. Nicholas and his practices, through to the arrival of Santa Claus and the traditions of modern Christmas.
Have a happy St. Nicholas Day.
Origin of St. Nicholas Day:
St. Nicholas Day has been celebrated for hundreds and hundreds of years. It commemorates the death of this very special, very holy person on December 6th. Record keeping was not perfect in his time. His death is believed to have been in either 345A.D., or 352 A.D.