St Nicholas and 6th December

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Belgian view of St Nicholas

As Christmas in the UK rapidly approaches, and kids are starting to write their letters to Father Christmas, I thought that St Nicholas was worth a mention. Having had relatives residing in Germany from the age of 6, and lived there myself, I have grown up with 2 days of gifts from good old St. Nick:

Of course, the majority of kids in the UK have awoken on the 25th of December to a stocking full of gifts left by Father Christmas / Santa Claus, but lesser known (in the UK) are the origins of this tradition, which stem from St Nicolas. St Nicholas’ feast day, on the 6th December, is widely celebrated throughout Europe, keeping alive centuries of stories of Nicholas’ goodness and generosity.

December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. In Germany, children awake to find chocolates and gifts left in their shoes on the 6th December, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated 1 day earlier, by sharing chocolates, small gifts, and riddles. There are many events and festivities which take place around the globe celebrating St. Nicholas.

St Nicholas, Great Bookham, Surrey

But in England there will be 25 events (including one at Bookham in Surrey where one of us lives) and one in Wales. At St Nicholas’s in Bookham, the lych gate is decorated with lights and chocolate coins are given to passing children. Funny how so many children are passing!

Further information on St. Nicholas can be found below:all information comes from the St Nicholas Center in the Netherlands who allowed us to use their image of the Belgian St Nicholas. The image of St Nicholas, Great Bookham is courtesy of the church.

· Click here for details on St Nicholas

· Events taking place around the globe on the 6th December

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