St. Nicholas: customs, origins, history – why christians celebrate on 6. December

St. Nicholas: What do Christians celebrate on 6. December? All info

Saint Nicholas of Myra

On 6. December is St. Nicholas Day. Where he comes from and what the day is all about is explained in this video.

On 6. December Christians around the world celebrate St. Nicholas. But why is this revered? And did it really exist? All info.

Berlin. "Funny, funny, tralala-lala: Soon there is St. Nicholas Eve." Countless children in Germany will still be singing this carol in 2021. Because: Christmas is not far away, the Advent season has already begun. And: On the 6. December is Saint Nicholas Day.

But what will be 6. December actually exactly celebrated? Was there a historical Nicholas and what is it about his gloomy companion? Interesting facts about one of the favorite days of many children and an important feast for many Christians.

Who was St. Nicholas?

The most important thing: Nicholas really existed. St. Nicholas was born around the year 280 and died around 350. As historically secured it is considered that he is celebrated in the year 325 as Bishop of Myra (today: Demre) participated in the First Council of Nicaea. Nicaea is today’s İznik in Turkey. Also interesting: Christmas: When, why and how Christians celebrate?

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To this day, St. Nicholas is one of the best known and most popular saints in Christianity across all denominational lines. In the Orthodox Church, especially in Russia, St. Nicholas is even considered among the most outstanding Saint. In the Eastern Church he is called "Savior of the World" or "Angel on Earth. In the western countries the image of a philanthropic churchman developed – close to the people and full of goodness.

Why do Christians celebrate on 6. December St. Nicholas?

The 6. December is the alleged anniversary of the death of Saint Nicholas of Myra. He therefore became his commemorative day.

Who was St. Nicholas of Myra?

The figure of Nicholas is surrounded by numerous – historically not proven – legends Say. He is said to have supported the needy and saved girls from prostitution with the fortune that his parents supposedly left him.

He is also said to have saved innocent convicts and averted a famine. A dream moved the bishops of the province to make the respected man the chief shepherd of the provincial capital Myra to choose, it is said. In fact, researchers today believe that in the figure were merged into one accounts of the lives of two historical persons.

On the one hand, some of the legends and sagas go back to Nicholas of Myra. On the other hand there is also Nicholas of Sion. He lived in the sixth century and is also said to have done some of the things now attributed to St. Nicholas. Over the centuries, legends about the lives of the two men became the mythical figure of St. Nicholas.

For about 750 years, his tomb – or rather, the tomb of Nicholas of Myra – was located in the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Myra, which was dedicated to him. Then the city was conquered by Muslims. The broken open sarcophagus in the basilica is still venerated by many believers today.

What became of the mortal remains of St. Nicholas?

There is historical evidence that suggests that already in the early Middle Ages some relics of the saint were brought back to the city Constantinople (Istanbul) were brought. When the later Emperor Otto II. married the Byzantine princess Theophanu in 972, she brought part of it with her to the German Empire. The remains are since 1058 in the Imperial Cathedral at Worms.

When the Muslims occupied the city of Myra, sailors from Bari in southern Italy – where devotion to the saint had already begun in the Century is documented before – on 9. May 1087, in a coup d’etat, broke open the sarcophagus in the Basilica of St. Nicholas and took the saint’s relics to their hometown for safekeeping.

The action and the transfer of the relics to Bari are documented by contemporary sources. And the Basilica of San Nicola in the center of Bari remains an important pilgrimage destination for Christians to this day.

When is Nicholas 2021?

Also in 2021 St. Nicholas Day will be celebrated as always on 6. December. Who wants to know it completely exactly: The 6. December is a Monday this year.

What customs are there to St. Nicholas?

Traditionally, on St. Nicholas Day, children are given small Gifts get. Typically nuts, chocolate or apples. This hides the "Nikolaus" in the children’s shoes when they put them outside the door on the evening before St. Nicholas Day.

Partly, however, St. Nicholas delivers the gifts himself and appears in the form of a man in disguise. Typical is the red robe, which is attributed to Santa Claus in the USA. A bishop’s robe, as St. Nicholas wears according to the Catholic rite, is rare today. Children are often confronted by St. Nicholas with their good and bad deeds.

Is the 6. December a holiday?

St. Nicholas Day is not a public holiday in Germany – even though many children would like to spend the day at home with their presents.

Who is the companion of Santa Claus?

If St. Nicholas as a figure on 6. When Santa Claus appears in December, he often doesn’t do it alone. Depending on the region, St. Nicholas has different companions. In many parts of Germany comes with it Servant Ruprecht – a rather bad-tempered companion who admonishes naughty children or even threatens them with a rod.

In the Netherlands it is the "Zwarte Piet" ("Black Piet"), who hides with the "Sinter Klaas" on the way. For years there is a discussion about whether and how the "Black Piet" is to be represented. While some Dutch see him as a beloved traditional figure, others criticize the white actors for "blackfacing" serve racist stereotypes. In the past years, intermediate solutions have also been sought again and again. For example, some performers used only light soot for their faces or painted themselves in colors like green or red.

In Austria and Bavaria Santa’s companion is not only unfriendly, he also looks like one. The Krampus or Barti is a mystical figure, which is usually represented with fur and horns. Their nature reminds many also of representations of devil figures.

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