Today the Christian world celebrates the day of St. Nicholas! And so our next Blogmas is dedicated to him. You will ask why? Is he even related somehow to Christmas? Well.. keep reading and you will be surprised! 😉
Saint Nicholas also called Nikolaos of Myra, was Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey), and is a historic Christian saint. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker.
He is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe. In Bulgaria St. Nicholas is also a patron of the bankers and 6th of December except being the Day of the sailor is also considered the Day of the Banker.
His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”).
But how it actually started?
The feast of St. Nicholas is on December 6th which is a highlight of the Advent season. In some traditions, each child puts out a shoe the night before St. Nicholas Day in the hope that the kind bishop with his mitre, staff, and bag of gifts will pay a visit. This is how the current Santa Claus modelled after St. Nicholas, but commercialism has tarnished the true story. In many families, gifts are given both on December 6th and December 25th Christmas.
For Bulgarians, St. Nicholas Day is an even bigger fest. From a really long time, the festivals of the certain Saints are being celebrated in Bulgaria as Name Days. Some of these festivals are more exuberant than even Birthdays. Interestingly, people who have the names Nikolay, Nikola, Nikoleta, Nikolina, Nina and other such variants of the Saint’s name, celebrate their Name days today.
Due to St. Nicholas being the patron of sailors and the sea, it is considered that on this day fish should be eaten. This will keep you healthy and will bring you lots of luck during the coming year.
Is St. Nicholas Day a big fest in your country and do you have any specific traditions or customs to this day? You can share them with us in the comments below. We will be happy to learn new things from you!
Joy. Happiness. Love.