St. Nikolaus Day
December 6th is a day kids in Germany and many other European countries get excited about. They put their shoes and boots out next to their rooms in the night from the fifth to the sixth and will find them filled with sweets, nuts, mandarins and little gifts in the morning. The Nikolaus came!
The Nikolaus is also known as St. Nicholas or Santa Claus. Most people know Santa. What many (including me before I looked into the topic) do not know though, is that this guy really existed. St. Nicholas was a Greek bishop that lived during the 4th century. He is said to have been generous to the poor and distributing coins and gifts to those who left their shoes out for him, hence the modern day tradition. He lived in Myra, an ancient town in Lycia, which is located in present-day Antalya, a province in southern Turkey. It’s funny to think of Santa as a Turk, isn’t it? Antalya is definitely much warmer than the North Pole…
December 6th 343 is the day he died, which explains the date kids put out their shoes nowadays. It all makes so much sense now after having consulted Wikipedia.
This year I prepared some Nikolaus presents for my Turkish flat mates and explained the tradition to them. They did not know about it and got all excited.
As I started to write these lines, literally, one of my flat mates knocked on my door and handed me a Nikolaus present, too (see above). Santa came back to his roots.