One story tells of a wicked butcher who was living through a time of bad famine. The butcher lured three children to his house where he killed them and put them in a barrel of salt to preserve them. His plan was to pass the dead children off as ham. When Saint Nicholas came to visit the town he guessed what the evil butcher had done and miraculously brought the children back to life with his prayers.
St Nicholas was a secret giver of gifts and did things like like leaving coins in poor people’s shoes. The modern day Santa Claus is thought to have been modelled on St Nicholas!
In Europe, St Nicholas Day is celebrated in a variety of ways. In the Ukraine, good children wait for St. Nicholas to leave them a present under their pillows. But badly behaved children can expect to find a twig or a piece of coal under their pillows!
Dutch children leave a clog filled with hay and a carrot for Saint Nicholas’ horse.
My German friends leave their shoes out (they clean them first) in the hope that St Nicholas will fill them with sweets.
Will you be celebrating St Nicholas Day tomorrow? What other traditions or festivals do you take part in at this time of the year?