Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Saint Nicholas Day (Mikuláš) - Dec. 6

Postcard, Hungary - Rosenthal Collection
St. Nicholas tradition is based on a 4th century Greek Bishop of Myra, named Nicholas who helped the poor.  Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. 

One tale mentioned, the bishop left a gift of money on the windowsill, inside a red bag, of three poor girls to enable them to get married. Probably the red stockings tradition is based on this story.

Among the Greeks and Italians he is considered the patron saint, protector of the Navy and Sailor men and his feast is celebrated on December 6th.  Happy Agios Nikolaos Day!

Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy where most of the relics of St. Nicholas are kept today.

My Hungarian uncle told us a fascinating tradition about St. Nicholas:

According to tradition, the festivity falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day on December 5th.  Parents bring their children to the Old Town Square where they can witness the tradition or in small villages the three character visit the houses. The characters in costumes are:

     1.   St. Nicholas (Mikuláš) who looks like Santa Claus.
     2.    The Angel (anděl) who represents the Good.
     3.    The Devil (čert) representing the Evil.

The tradition said, St. Nicholas asks children if they were good that year. Most kids say yes and sing a song or poem. They are rewarded with sweets or other treats, handed out by the Angel. If the kid said NO, the Devil has a sack of potatoes or coal instead of candy, but it does not really happen.

Which sack would you like to receive?

Have a joyful and happy tradition!

Author website: www.luzdelmes.com

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