Nicholas died on 6 December AD in Myra and following his death, Nicholas gained sainthood and because of the legends associated with him, he became the patron saint of Children and Sailors. As Saint Nicholas is also the patron saint of sailors, many churches dedicated to him are intentionally built so they can be seen from the coast as landmarks.
In , most of his relics bones were taken to Bari, Italy. This is why he is sometimes known as Nikolaos of Bari.
His remaining bones were taken to Venice in by Venetian sailors during the first crusade. Saint Nicholas' Feast Day became a traditional day for gift giving in most of Western mainland Europe. It remains a popular tradition and for children, receiving presents on Saint Nicholas Day is still a bigger event than Christmas. One view is that getting the presents out of the way early in the Christmas period, helps focus Christmas day itself on the nativity of Christ.
He comes each year from Spain in November and gives his presents while riding on a white horse, accompanied by his sidekick, Black Peter. In Germany, the sidekick is a more sinister figure. Called Krampus, he looks more like the devil and may visit on Saint Nicholas Eve to punish children who have been naughty.
The tradition of Sinterklass came to the Americas from Dutch settlers and merged with the British tradition of Father Christmas. A German-born, American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, is credited with the first modern depiction of Santa Claus in the late nineteenth century.
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When is Saint Nicholas Day?
One of the oldest stories showing St. Nicholas as a protector of children takes place long after his death. The townspeople of Myra were celebrating the good saint on the eve of his feast day when a band of Arab pirates from Crete came into the district. They stole treasures from the Church of Saint Nicholas to take away as booty. As they were leaving town, they snatched a young boy, Basilios, to make into a slave.
The emir, or ruler, selected Basilios to be his personal cupbearer, as not knowing the language, Basilios would not understand what the king said to those around him. So, for the next year Basilios waited on the king, bringing his wine in a beautiful golden cup. For Basilios' parents, devastated at the loss of their only child, the year passed slowly, filled with grief. As the next St. Nicholas' feast day approached, Basilios' mother would not join in the festivity, as it was now a day of tragedy.
However, she was persuaded to have a simple observance at home—with quiet prayers for Basilios' safekeeping.
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Meanwhile, as Basilios was fulfilling his tasks serving the emir, he was suddenly whisked up and away. Nicholas appeared to the terrified boy, blessed him, and set him down at his home back in Myra. Imagine the joy and wonderment when Basilios amazingly appeared before his parents, still holding the king's golden cup.
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This is the first story told of St. Nicholas protecting children—which became his primary role in the West. Another story tells of three theological students, traveling on their way to study in Athens. A wicked innkeeper robbed and murdered them, hiding their remains in a large pickling tub. It so happened that Bishop Nicholas, traveling along the same route, stopped at this very inn. In the night he dreamed of the crime, got up, and summoned the innkeeper. As Nicholas prayed earnestly to God the three boys were restored to life and wholeness. In France the story is told of three small children, wandering in their play until lost, lured, and captured by an evil butcher.
Nicholas appears and appeals to God to return them to life and to their families. Nicholas is the patron and protector of children.
Several stories tell of Nicholas and the sea. When he was young, Nicholas sought the holy by making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There as he walked where Jesus walked, he sought to more deeply experience Jesus' life, passion, and resurrection. Returning by sea, a mighty storm threatened to wreck the ship. Nicholas calmly prayed. The terrified sailors were amazed when the wind and waves suddenly calmed, sparing them all. Nicholas is the patron of sailors and voyagers. Other stories tell of Nicholas saving his people from famine , sparing the lives of those innocently accused, and much more.
He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return. Within a century of his death he was celebrated as a saint. Today he is venerated in the East as wonder, or miracle worker and in the West as patron of a great variety of persons-children, mariners, bankers, pawn-brokers, scholars, orphans, laborers, travelers, merchants, judges, paupers, marriageable maidens, students, children, sailors, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, perfumers, even thieves and murderers!
He is known as the friend and protector of all in trouble or need see list. Sailors, claiming St. Nicholas as patron, carried stories of his favor and protection far and wide. Nicholas chapels were built in many seaports. Nicholas' stories and devotion to St. Nicholas to his homeland where Nicholas became the most beloved saint.
St. Nicholas Day | Description, History, & Traditions | purnacater.tk
Nicholas' tomb in Myra became a popular place of pilgrimage. Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult. For both the religious and commercial advantages of a major pilgrimage site, the Italian cities of Venice and Bari vied to get the Nicholas relics. In the spring of , sailors from Bari succeeded in spiriting away the bones, bringing them to Bari, a seaport on the southeast coast of Italy.
An impressive church was built over St. Nicholas' crypt and many faithful journeyed to honor the saint who had rescued children, prisoners, sailors, famine victims, and many others through his compassion, generosity, and the countless miracles attributed to his intercession. The Nicholas shrine in Bari was one of medieval Europe's great pilgrimage centers and Nicholas became known as "Saint in Bari.
Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants.
By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life. Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves!