The 6th of December is the day when children put out there boots in hopes to get a little trinket from St. Nickolaus. Here in Germany if you are a good child your boot is filled with fruits and candy and little toys. If you were naughty on the other hand you get a little broomstick. I guess I must have been good, I got enough candy to last me years!
It is believed that the name Nickolaus comes from the Greek 'nikos' and ' laos' which mean s.th like the savior of the community.
Apparently St. Nickolaus came from a well off family, but he chose to lead a simple life and one of helping other people. Bishops of that region had a dream in which they were told to make St. Nick the overseer of the people of Myra. The legend says that once bishop Nickolaus helped a sick man who had lost his wife and was left with his kids to fend for. They were starving and had no clothes. One day they discovered a huge sack full of flour and bread in front of the door. The next day they were surprised with a sack full of clothing. The Father figured that it might be the work of the bishop and they all decided to wait in hiding to get a chance to thank their benefactor. They caught him just as he was leaving again at which time the Bishop just told them to hurry home before they all catch a cold and that that was the least he could do for them. When they returned to their front door they were greeted by yet another sack full of shoes, so that everyone's feet were now protected from the snow and sleet. To the delight of the children the shows also contained little toys.
Another legends says that St. Nickolaus saved the inhabitant of the city Myra from starvation. Apparently pirates had raided the city grain reserves and when the inhabitant had nothing else to offer wanted to take all the children as slaves with them. St. Nickolaus on the other hand paid them with everything the church had, bought back some grain and saved the kids from slavery.
I love legends, since there is always a grain of truth that gets past on through generations and gets embellished by every storyteller. Being able to experience St. Nickolaus day brings back fond childhood memories.
A few images of the towns I am visiting. Tonight I get to see a Wheinachtsmarkt or Christmas Market and I am super thrilled.
Dannenberg Kirche und Waldemarturm