What is the Nikolaus-Day?
Each December 6th Germans celebrate St. Nicholas Day. But why do we celebrate this dat at all? Why Does this Santa look alike come so early in December and why do our kids have to polish their shoes?
Is Nicholas the same as Santa? They sure look very similar, but although their outfits seem to match, these two are different people. Every year on December 6th, the Germans commemorate the death of Nikolaus von Myra, who died on this day in the year 346. He was a Greek Christian Bishop known for miracles and secretly distributing gifts. He loved to help the poor with small surprises.
But what about the polished shoes? Doesn't he have any? The custom comes from the legend that historical Saint Nicholas left gifts like coins in people's shoes overnight. Children in Germany still clean their boots and put them in front of the door. If the children have been good all year, Nikolaus puts a small gift such as sweets, nuts or fruit in their boots. For the naughty children, on the other hand, there was only a lump of coal to show that the child did not deserve a treat.