New at Christkindl Market in 2019
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, they might find twigs in their shoe!
Nicholas of Myra, born in 280 A.D., was Greek and lived in a region bordering the Mediterranean Sea, now 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 place a shoe out on the evening of December 5 with the hope that St. Nicholas will fill it with treats, other children (and adults) will 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 do the same on that evening.
Nicholas died on December 6, 343 – hence this day became known as St. Nicholas Day and his kindness is still celebrated around the world.