In Germany, today is Nikolaustag and the children are very excited. The boots that they put outside the door last night have been filled with chocolates, nuts, oranges and other goodies.
But who was St Nikolaus?
A famous bishop…
St Nikolaus was a bishop who lived in the 4th century and became famous for his good deeds. One story tells of how he helped three poor sisters to get married. In those days, women often had to give to their new husband’s family a large amount of money, called a dowry, before they could get married. The sisters didn’t have enough money for their dowries but St Nikolaus found out and wanted to help.
Being a modest person, he didn’t want the sisters to find out that he was helping them. So he climbed onto the roof of their house and dropped three lumps of gold down the chimney. The three pieces of gold fell into three stockings they had left by the fireplace to dry. This is the reason why British kids still hang Christmas stockings on the mantelpiece.
St Nikolaus has a list of all the good children in his golden book. He has something in his sack of goodies for every child on the list. St Nikolaus is usually accompanied by his servant, Knecht Ruprecht. Ruprecht has a black book with the names of all the bad kids in it and frightens them with a broom of twigs tied together in a bundle. As a reminder, he will put a bundle of twigs in the bad children’s boots…
Words Ahoy! · Wörter Ahoi!