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St. Nicholas Day

🗓️ December 6

🌐 Everywhere



December 6 is noted as the death day of Saint Nicholas.
But that cannot be true!
Saint Nicholas still travels the world all December long and resides in unknown locations at the North Pole and in Spain.
First he visits in and around Europe in the guise of an old friendly saint wearing red and white bishop apparel.
Then, gaining weight from all the festive treats he changes costumes to be the green Father Christmas, the Yule Goat, Santa Claus and even reports have been made that he may be the Scandinavian Odin.

Saint Nicholas is also known as the patron saint of merchants, sailors, prostitutes, students, falsely accused, repentant criminals and any victim of injustice.
Legends of Saint Nicholas paint him as a catholic superhero who saves the day for those in desperate time.
Modern times merge him with other legendary characters who bring gifts during wintertime heroes.
Saint Nicholas usually has helpers that are either tamed monsters, redeemed villains or oppressed minorities who have been emancipated.
If you have problem finding work for reasons of prejudice. Chances are that Saint Nicholas can help you with that!
Saint Nicholas loves nothing more than to see happy faces and justice being done.

“Still, let’s not forget it’s St. Nicholas Day,
Though we’ve nothing left to give away.
We’ll have to find something else to do:
So everyone please look in their shoe!?”
— Anne Frank

Saint Nicholas is one of the many legends that Santa Claus is based on.
For as long humans can remember there are holidays with lights, feasts and gift giving around the midwinter time.
In many regions there are one or more mysterious givers of gifts.
Saint Nicholas became one of them because of his generous and caring reputation.

Santa Claus inherited from Saint Nicholas his name, kind and generous reputation, entering the house through the chimney, filling stockings or shoes and the red and white in his clothing.
In many other aspects Saint Nicholas is a legend on his own that is still celebrated in parts of West Europe.
In West Europe Saint Nicholas is the one giving the presents and often even giving little treats in the days before the day of the big presents.
This is why Dutch children put their shoe out with a treat for Saint Nicholas his horse,  to find a little present in the form of candy or a small toy inside in the morning.

“Pieter me knecht”

Lately there is a lot of controversy around Saint Nicholas having “Black Pete’s” as helpers.
Because Black Pete is often a white person wearing black makeup.
Having slaves however does not not fit with the reputation of Saint Nicholas.
The Saint however frowned upon oppressing other people.
There are even several stories of Saint Nicholas helping black people and punishing those who harass them.
Another confusing aspect is the clothing of Black Pete actually being that of Moroccan nobles of that time.
There is a lot lost in forgotten history.

The first appearance of Black Pete is in a writing of Jozef Alberdingk Thijm in 1812 where Saint Nicholas refers to a black helper with the words “Pieter me knecht”.
Though this roughly translates to “Pete my servant” it needs mentioning that the Dutch word “knecht” specifically means a servant who is paid.
This fits the backstory of Saint Nicholas, as he would never accept people as slaves, but would help those who have trouble in live.
As this was in a time when black slaves were held, there are stories where Saint Nicholas bought slaves who were mistreated and then would set them free.
Some of those former slaves stayed with the saint out of gratitude and were paid wages for helping Saint Nicholas to do even more good works.
If we don’t refresh our memories often enough,
then traditions get distorted, beautiful old tales are forgotten and eventually replaced with something more modern.
Thus, Saint Nicholas will get different helpers again, as has happened several times before…

In many regions of Europe Saint Nicholas has witches and demons as helpers.
One of those helpers that is rising in popularity is Krampus.
Krampus has many similar origins with the more Eastern European perchten.

December 6 is actually the day that saint Nicholas died.
But the appearances of Saint Nicolas when he arrives in his steamboat and all the times he appears on tv or visits shopping malls and schools prove he is very much alive still.

#Sinterklaas #SintNicolaas #SintNikolaas #SaintNicholas #Sint
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