Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nicholas of Myra

Jolly old Saint Nick is recognized as a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, but instead of being a fat man who lives up north, he was a kind man from Turkey known for his generosity and holiness. Several exploits and miracles are attributed to him, particularly in relation to helping children. Over the centuries, of course, his reputation has grown into the figure we associate with the secular side of Christmas, but his origin is on the sacred side. He is the patron saint of Amsterdam, and in the Netherlands (and elsewhere), Saint Nicholas' Day is celebrated on December 6. In Dutch tradition, children leave out their shoes with a card for the saint and a carrot for his horse, as depicted by Dutch LEGO builder Erik Smit. When they awake they find candy and other treats.

The text in the image translates to "Have a nice Saint Nicholas."

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