ExclUsiVe to tHe loWlanDs
Ἅγιος Νικόλαος Μυριώτης
The festive Saint Nicolas has been celebrated in several European countries for centuries. Every country has its own version that mostly differs in the time and manner of arrival of the Holy Man but also whether he has or has not got any servants at his disposal. There are two countries however where the exact date is the only difference. The lowlands, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Saint Nicolas of Myra is the man where the fuzz is about. Born in Patara, in modern day Turkey around the 3th century Anno Domini. He became bishop of Myra in his later life, hence the name. Even in his early years he performed miracles. For instance, he could stand up in the bathtub when he was still a baby and he refused to drink breast milk on the ember days, wednesday and friday. This kid had a bright future ahead of him!
His brotherly love became his trade mark. In those days they called this miracles, but Saint Nicolas saved tens of people from the hangman's noose. Some were even army generals from the Byzantine Empire, not the nicest of men! Praying to God and bringing the dead back to life, like the three murdered students, was also one of his gifts.
As a bishop, his name and deeds were shared all over the European continent and Saint Nicolas became a cult-figure. December 6th was chosen to be Nicolas' saintsday. And that remains to this day.
The fest as we know it comes from a tradition of helping out the less fortunate. The children were allowed to place one of their shoes in church. The more wealthy contingent of the city then handed out all sorts of candy, chocolate milk and presents. This tradition was altered in the following years and Nicolas got helpers to make sure all the children's shoes were filled with delights. In return they even got drawings, water and carrots for Nicolas' horse. Why the Holy Man arrives by boat from Spain is something that is still not really clarified in histories written documents.
My personal opinion is that because his crew of helpers only got bigger, the number of children with shoes grew and the presents became more expensive, it was more cost-efficient for him to travel on land from Turkey to Spain and then leave from there by boat. So you can even call him the patron of low-budget travelling..
Check out our NEXT GENERATION section for some exquisite gifts. Not to interfere with the Holy Man's schedule, order before 15.00 PM this Monday and get your gifts beautifully wrapped and perfectly on time for these festive days!