On the eve of December 5th, many children and adults alike anticipate a very special day, even before Christmas Day arrives. When stockings and shoes are left out for St. Nick to fill, we must all remember there is also a feast to be commemorated, and celebrated!
Per the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Saint Nicholas was a bishop in Lycia, a province in Turkey during the fourth century. He is the patron saint of brides and children and in the United States, this feast day is typically celebrated and acknowledged by the tradition of children receiving goodies on the morning of the feast day.
Although the Roman Catholic Church recognizes this feast day, Saint Nick’s Day is recognized by many Christians around the world. But, not every country celebrates this feast day the same. Read on to learn about a few other countries that have different traditions to commemorate St. Nick!
England—With over 500 Churches named after St. Nick, it is no wonder that on this day the English celebrate with a special Patronal Feast. Many churches celebrate St. Nick on the closest Sunday to December 6th, but there are still some who recognize the actual day of his feast as well.
Germany—A tradition in the Roman Catholic areas of southern Germany is for children to prepare poems and songs for Sankt Nikolaus. In other areas of the country, there are local customs where this feast day is treated a bit like Halloween in the United States. Children dress up as St. Nick and go door to door asking for candy.
Italy—In some areas, particularly in Sicily, St. Nick can be celebrated at any point in the year, if a child has lost a tooth! The child must put the tooth under his/her pillow at night and pray a special prayer. In the morning, the tooth should be thrown “over the rooftops” and the next day, St. Nick is expected to have left a small present in exchange.
Happy feast of St. Nicholas!
“St. Nicholas Center ::: Around the World.” St. Nicholas Center ::: Around the World. St. Nicholas Center, 2016. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.
“Advent and Christmas Celebrations and Customs around the World.” Advent and Christmas Celebrations and Customs around the World. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2016. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.