December 05, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Day 5

image courtesy of YouWall

Tomorrow is Nikolaus, a German holiday that remembers the life of Nicholas of Myra. Nicholas was a Greek Christian Bishop known for giving gifts secretly, placing them in the boots of his recipients as they slept; today, he is the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants, and students. Though St. Nicholas and the man we know as Santa a.k.a. Father Christmas look similar, Germans make a clear distinction between the two so as not to lose site of the real reason Christmas is celebrated. Tonight before children in Germany go to bed, they'll put one of their boots or shoes out in front of the door. While they're are sleeping and if they've been good, St.Nicholas will fill their shoes with small treats. My boys love this little pre-Christmas cheer and I really appreciate how simple Germans keep it. Typical boot fillers are tangerines, walnuts, a couple chocolate bars, and small coins. So, if you're reading this and new to Germany, remember to put a boot just might find treasures in it tomorrow!

For those of you reading from other countries, do you celebrate Nikolaus and/or December 6th? If so, how and what is the story behind it? For those of you reading in Germany, I'd love it if you'd share a favorite Nikolaustag memory of your own...Es kann auch auf deutsch sein!

Just two more candles to be lit...Hope your second Advent is a peaceful one.

1 comment:

julia said...

Hi Julie!
When I was about 6 years old my mom thought to make Nikolaus an extra special day. She bought a Rute for each of us, put them in our boots and hung many, many chocolate treats on them. She really meant good, just wanted to make it fun and a little different. But at that age the story of Knecht Ruprecht punishing the naughty children were too lively in our minds that both, my older sister and me began to cry when we got up to see what St. Nicholas had brought us on that day...we only saw the birches and thought it very unfair...we hadn't been naughtier than in other years!

Have a wonderful 2nd Sunday in Advent,