day 5: st. nicholas day!

>> December 05, 2009

According to both my mother and encyclopedia britannica, tomorrow is St. Nicholas day! The latter describes today as follows:“Little is known of the life of the historical Nicholas. He was the bishop of Myra (now Kale in southwestern Turkey) in the 4th century and developed a reputation for generosity. In 1087 Italians stole his remains from the church in Myra, by then under the control of Muslims, and took them to Bari for reburial, and during the Middle Ages he became extraordinarily popular. After the Reformation, St. Nicholas was largely forgotten in Protestant Europe, although his memory was kept alive in Holland as Sinterklaas. There St. Nicholas is said to arrive on horseback on his feast day, dressed in a bishop’s red robe and mitre and accompanied by Black Peter, variously described as a freed slave or a Moor, to help him distribute presents to good children or lumps of coal, potatoes, or switches to bad ones.”

A few comments:
* I don’t know what a “switch” is, other than some sort of railroad prop.
* I don’t know why someone would steal remains.
* Perhaps Black Peter is the same as the black wise man we have in our manger set.. along with the twins (no, the backstory isn’t funny).

Happy St. Nicholas day!! Put something in your shoe tonight, take it out tomorrow, and celebrate!


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