Celebrate Nicholas | Religious education

Even if there is not a lot of evidence about the life of Nicholas, he is still one of the most important figures in the Holy Church.

Who was this nicholas

Nikolaus was born in Patara between 270 and 286 and died on December 6th. The year of death is not exactly known, but December 6th is celebrated as a holiday in many Christian communities.

Why do we celebrate Nicholas?
Why do we celebrate Nicholas? - © Kzenon / Adobe Stock

Nicholas was the bishop of Myra in the region of Lycia, which at that time belonged to the Roman Empire. Today it belongs to Turkey and is called Demre and was at that time the episcopal see. The bishop was the uncle of Nicholas and he was consecrated bishop at the age of 19 years.

He is said to have worked as an abbot in Sion Monastery in the region of Myra, where he was arrested and tortured during the persecution of Christians. The fortune he had received as a son of rich parents, he must have distributed to the poor, so the legend.

The different customs

Even if today every child knows the Nicholas, the custom is maintained differently around his person. In Germany, there are very different customs depending on the region and in other countries, the holiday of St. Nicholas is used as a substitute for Christmas.

This is common, for example, in the Netherlands, where the arrival of the Sinterklaas The ship is expected in mid-November. Spain was the colonial power of the Dutch and as such was capable of sending a wise man from afar. Every year the ship docks in a different port and Nikolaus visits the port city and the surrounding big cities from there.

He is not alone, he accompanies him in the Netherlands Zwarte Pietwho is responsible for the lesser-off children. The actual Christmas Eve with gifts is the Pakjesavond the day before.

In some areas in Switzerland there is next to St. Nicholas' Day at the 6. December also one more silvesterklaus, which also connects New Year's Day with a saint's day. In Styria in Austria, St. Nicholas is replaced by St. Thomas and on 21. December the feast of Thomasnikolo celebrated.

Just as Nicholas is celebrated in neighboring European countries according to their own tradition, so it is in Germany. Like almost everywhere, Nicholas is expected in Germany in a bishop's robe, with his bishop's staff and bishop's cap.

Santa Claus, who has appeared in modern red robes for a few decades, is an invention of an American beverage manufacturer that was used for advertising purposes and is now widely used as Santa Claus. BUT: Santa Claus himself is a real religious person

All Santa Claus bring gifts, regardless of whether they are dressed according to religious models or according to modern understanding. Children love him - if a bit ambiguously - they already receive small gifts and sweets from him. This shortens the waiting time until Christmas considerably and depending on the day of St. Nicholas not only the wishes of the children grow bigger, but also the gifts.

However, Santa Claus also asks about the old tradition and based on the Parable of the entrusted talents the children visited, whether they would have been good and pious. In this parable, three servants were given coins to use according to their talents. They were later asked about it and this is the basis for the question of Santa Claus to the children.

The so-called insert custom, that is, the filling of boots, goes back to the legend of the three virgins who were given gifts by St. Nicholas at night. As a result of the reformation against the veneration of saints, the tradition of St. Nicholas as a gift-bringer was replaced by the Christ child; in some regions St. Nicholas is more important as a gift-deliverer.

Nicholas and the wish list for the Christ child

That too Writing the wish list goes back a long time, which was caused by letters to St. Nicholas or the Christ Child. Special Christmas post offices are available to process mail. The little Santa Claus boats used in the past, which were tinkered so that Santa Claus could put his presents in there, is also an old custom.

Later, the boat was replaced by boots, shoes or stocking, in some regions Nicholas plates are filled with printen, gingerbread, chocolate, an apple, an orange and nuts. On the eve of St. Nicholas's Day, the shoes and other containers are put out of the door to be eagerly brought in the morning. It can also be a baked Santa Claus in it, the Weckmann, as you know him from St. Martin's.

Nicholas is always mentioned in connection with good and good children, who get the hoped-for gifts and sweets. In the run-up to Christmas, many a child will surely hear that Santa Claus would punish naughtiness with his tail. So that he can keep track of everything well, he often has a “golden book” with him, in which everything about the respective child is noted.

So he can decide whether to get something good out of the Santa Claus bag or swing the rod. In many places, he brings an assistant to support him, who is called differently depending on the region. The Krampusse are the companions of Santa Claus in Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and parts of Croatia and northern Italy and scare the alleged bad children. That too Klausentreiben in the Upper Allgäu it counts, in the Berchtesgadener Land it is the Perchten or the Butt Mandl. In northern regions of Germany it is the servant Ruprecht who accompanies Nicholas, also the Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands is such a journeyman.


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