Today Is Nikolaus Day! Have You Been Good?

advent wreath
@MALUSE (33031)
Denmark
December 6, 2017 11:28am CST
For the little ones, Christmas season starts on 1st December when they open the first door of their Advent Calendar (advent, from Latin = arrival, coming). They usually have some space between two sheets of cardboard (the upper one depicts a Christmas or winter scene) so that some chocolate can be put behind the doors. More modern versions are strings hanging on the walls or anything which might hold 24 little parcels. The four Sundays before Christmas are the so-called Advent Sundays. Whereas the Advent Calendar is for children, nearly every household has an Advent Wreath made of fir twigs with four, usually red, candles for the four Sundays. Although it isn’t forbidden to lighten them all at once, people don’t, they light first one candle, the next Sunday two and so on. December 6th is Nikolaus Day. I don’t know how Nikolaus or Father Christmas travel to Germany, certainly not by reindeer sledge, but how then? How the presents reach the child is unknown and not seen as relevant. In any case, the chimney isn’t used, neither by Nikolaus nor later by Father Christmas. The figure of Nikolaus goes back to a legendary bishop in Asia Minor who lived from around 280 to around 350, the exact dates are unknown. His first good deed was to throw three bags of gold through the window of a pauper who was so desperate that he was considering prostitution for his three daughters. With that dowry, however, he was able to marry them off to honourable men. Later the bishop performed some miracles, all in the field of charity. The Nikolaus German children love is also known in other European countries. The transformation of the historical into a mythical figure occurred in the 13th century in France. Sometimes Nikolaus has got too much to carry so that he’s accompanied by a servant with the name of Rupprecht. Whereas Father Christmas is quite an elusive guy, it’s not difficult to get into personal contact with Nikolaus. The town where I live has a Police Academy. Together with the local newspaper they organise a Rent-a-Nikolaus-service in December. The parents call it and order a young policeman who dresses up as Nikolaus (very much like Father Christmas). When he rings the bell, they go out, give him about 10 pounds (the money goes to a local Charity project), the presents (small ones, Nikolaus Day is not a second Christmas) and a list with the vices and virtues of the children, the highpoint of the performance! First Nikolaus introduces himself with a poem, then he reads from his list, praising or scolding the children, using his switch if necessary (no modern pedagogics here!) depending on what he finds on the list, but always ending on a positive note and handing over the presents after listening to poems and songs the little ones have prepared for him. Very rarely does it happen that a child is really frightened and doesn’t reappear from under the sofa while he’s present! --- Photo: Dirk Vorderstraße (Wikimedia)
18 people like this
19 responses
@LadyDuck (122596)
• Switzerland
6 Dec
I beat you announcing this celebration. We are ready to light the fireplace and celebrate Saint Nicholas.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
Yes, I realised that you were quicker.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (122596)
• Switzerland
6 Dec
@MALUSE I have seen my neighbors preparing for the celebration and I realized it's the 6th of December.
2 people like this
@andriaperry (33376)
• Anniston, Alabama
6 Dec
I love this history from your part of the world.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
Thank you!
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (82193)
• United States
6 Dec
I have never had a visit from Nikolaus, but how wonderful it would be to have him ring the doorbell and go through that very important performance just for children! I am sure I would not have been frightened of St. Nikolaus since our Santa Clause frightened some here, but not me!
2 people like this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
In our house lives a family with four children (all grown up now). We were present several times when a Nikolaus came to them when they were still small. Oh, the shiny eyes! That was really nice to see.
4 people like this
@Morleyhunt (16808)
• Canada
6 Dec
I'm a Canadian of Dutch descent. Sinterklaas is part of out tradition. He gives out candy and chocolate as well as fruit and nuts. Children leave hay and carrots for his white horse. He is accompanied by Zwarte Piet, who leaves coal or puts naughty children In His sack.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
Were you ever put into the sack? :-)
2 people like this
@Morleyhunt (16808)
• Canada
6 Dec
@MALUSE not me! I was always told what a naughty child I was. I look back....I was actually ver good. I was afraid to misbehave....now as a teen I pushed the limits some, but still not much when compared to the average teen.
1 person likes this
• Derby, England
6 Dec
@Morleyhunt This is what my Dutch relatives used to tell me. Black Peter and his coal were greatly feared
2 people like this
• United States
7 Dec
I'm just learning of this holiday, and I think it's very interesting. Thank you for explaining it.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
7 Dec
You're welcome.
@nitsbubb (274)
• New Delhi, India
6 Dec
This writings gives lots of cultural knowledge. Very interesting post to read! Thank you for such a lovely post!
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
You're welcome.
1 person likes this
@tzwrites (3820)
• Romania
6 Dec
When I was very young I was so terrified of Nikolaus I ran away and hid outside in the dog house.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
Why were you terrified? Weren't you a good girl? :-)
1 person likes this
• Derby, England
6 Dec
I suppose young children see older ones or have their parents with them and it becomes something quite familiar.I don't suppose the switch gets a lot of heavy use!
1 person likes this
@garymarsh6 (12182)
• United Kingdom
15 Dec
This celebration is unique to Europe we do not celebrate St Nickolaus day here but the children do have an advent calendar.
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
15 Dec
Thanks for reading and commenting on the posts I wrote during your absence and making me stinking rich! :-)
1 person likes this
@garymarsh6 (12182)
• United Kingdom
15 Dec
@MALUSE Well as long as you don't go spending it all at once!
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
15 Dec
@garymarsh6 I'll try my best. Maybe if I save it diligently, I can go on a cruise.
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (18586)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
6 Dec
We don't make a huge deal out of Sinterklaas day, but my kids and husband still enjoy finding treats in their shoes. Now that they all of jobs and money of their own Sinterklaas just sticks with premium chocolate. Apparently, I have been naughty once again, since my shoes were empty this morning .
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
Just for the fun of it, you should treat yourself to a fine choccie bar, too.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
6 Dec
@MALUSE There was nothing in my shoes this morning, but that didn't stop me from polishing off a container of dark chocolate, sea salt caramel. I have a self-control problem when it comes to sweets. That is probably why I am on the naughty list.
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
@Platespinner I also love dark chocolate. I'm trying to hold back because the waistbands of my trousers have shrunk. I wonder how this could happen. ;-)
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (21769)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
6 Dec
As I found out when travelling through Schiphol early one December...
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
6 Dec
Häh? What did you find out in Schiphol?
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (21769)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
6 Dec
@MALUSE On my way through on 12 Dec, the baubles were definitely past their best... they'd served their purpose on 6th Dec, despite the decorations in the UK being at their best on 25th...
@CoralLevang (40984)
• United States
13 Dec
It is interesting to read the tradition and even more interesting as I contemplate how things change from one tradition in a culture to another here in America. For instance, no one paid attention to how he arrived in Germany, but we make up the reindeer sleigh to transport him to all corners of the world! Very interesting discussion. Thank you so much for sharing it! This is a tradition I think I would love to experience.
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
13 Dec
I'm glad you like my post.
1 person likes this
@LoriAMoore (10171)
• United States
7 Dec
Loving the European traditions!
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
7 Dec
I'm surprised that Nikolaus hasn't made it across the Atlantic. Nearly all other Christmas related things have come from Germany and/or Austria.
1 person likes this
@bluesa (12836)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
7 Dec
There is so much more to celebrate in certain parts of Europe during this time. How fun it all is and the Police Academy taking part. Belated happy Nikolaus Day to you @MALUSE .
@MALUSE (33031)
• Denmark
7 Dec
Thank you!
1 person likes this
@PatZAnthony (11812)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
7 Dec
We don't do any of these things, but it is always interesting to read what others do!
@yanzalong (8959)
• Indonesia
7 Dec
I can just imagine this December is very convivial. Super markets and malls are already filled with Christmas air.
@1creekgirl (8809)
• United States
7 Dec
That was so interesting...thanks.
@JudyEv (101183)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Dec
What a lovely tradition regarding the young policemen. I can just see the littlies coming out from behind a couch.
@Fleura (6229)
• United Kingdom
6 Dec
Here Father Christmas is the only visitor, he and Saint Nicholas are derived from the same person.