'Twas the night before St. Nicholas Day (December 6th)
Every year when children in Germany and other countries around the world go to bed on December 5, they put a shoe or boot outside the door to their house hoping that St. Nicholas will fill the shoe with an orange, candy and chocolate – assuming they have been good during the past year. If they’ve been bad, in the morning they might find twigs in their shoe! Who is St. Nicholas? Nicholas of Myra, born in the year 280, was Greek and lived in a region bordering the Mediterranean Sea, in present-day Turkey.
Nicholas was known in his lifetime for his generosity – giving gifts to and placing coins in the shoes of people in need. One of the most celebrated of Nicholas’ good deeds was, upon hearing about a poor family with three daughters, he threw three small bags of gold through an open window in the family’s home – one for each girl to use for their marriage dowry. This and other good deeds led to Nicholas being known as the patron saint of children, and for being a giver of gifts.
Through time and across cultures, the figure of St. Nicholas transformed into many different gift bringers at Christmas such as Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Der Weihnachtsmann, Baba Noel, Joulupukki, Julemand, Jultomten, Père Noël, and of course – Santa Claus.
While many children leave a shoe out on the evening of December 5 with the hope that St. Nicholas will fill it with treats, other children (and adults) hang a stocking from the fireplace mantel or from the foot of their bed on Christmas Eve with the hope that Saint Nicholas – or Santa Claus – will leave gifts for them. Nicholas died on December 6, 343 – hence this day became known as St. Nicholas Day and his kindness is still celebrated around the world.
Want to know more about St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus and all of their helpers? Ask your local library to borrow:
Santa Claus: A Biography, written by Gerry Bowler, published by McClelland & Stewart in 2005.
The Transylvania Choir is a group of close to forty like-minded singers who love singing and social interaction. They have performed their varied repertoire of both German and English arrangements throughout Ontario and internationally.
We love to perform for appreciative audiences and have been heard at concerts all over Southern Ontario, at Saxon clubs both in this province and internationally, and, when invited, at community events such as the German Pioneer's Day and the Christkindl Market as well as numerous family events and at retirement homes.
Our traditional songs will surprise you with frequent variations of speed, volume, and intonation. This style was introduced by our choir director, Mr. Dieter Conrad. The choir is assisted by Mrs. Andrea von Weyhe on the piano.
The choir was founded in the early 1950s. Besides being very actively involved in club life, it sings, when invited, with other choirs at their functions and at family and community events, and for retirement homes.
The choir president is Mr. Gerhard Griebenow.