Friday, 4 December 2009

Sunday is Nikolas Tag!

Sunday is a special day - it's Nikolaus Tag - yet another German Christmas tradition. On the 5th December you need to clean your shoes (one pair or all - I'm never quite sure..) and leave them outside your front door

If you've been good, Nikolaus will come in the night and fill your shoes with chocolates and sweeties - if you've been bad, he'll fill them with sticks! The tradition goes back to a Catholic saint from Turkey: Nikolaus was a bishop in Myra, who died on the 6th December 345. He was very generous to the poor and especially to children. A legend says he even brought three murdered children back to life. Which is why the good old Catholic church made him patron saint of children. In medieval times an apprentice monk was elected to dress up as "children's-bishop". He visited schools on the 6th December, and "punished" the bad kids and "awarded" the good kids with sweets. It's yet another excuse to fill your kids up with sweeties - and they love it. I always take the opportunity to get my chocolate mad husband and children to clean as many shoes as they can manage on the 5th December - and then I fill them all with sweets - and a couple of sticks - telling them they'll have to behave better until Christmas or Santa might not come at all! Works a treat.

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