Monday 21 December 2015

St Nikolaus

Naughty or nice? This isn't our usual image of Santa or Santa Claus. It goes back to the origin of the name: Claus from Klaus from Nikolaus and Santa or Saint - so Saint Nikolaus. And his "day" was never December 25th. This photo was taken in Odendorf in 2009 for my Nikolaus Ralley on the 1st Wenesday/Mittwoch following the 1st Advent Sunday/Sonntag when "our" village held a Christmas market in the streets. And several mangers or creches were built up for the "coming". His day is December 6.  He died on December 6, 343 in Myra, present day Turkey and is known as St Nicholas of Myra

I think it is important today to recall that nations are short-lived human inventions of convenience and usually war. The First Nation peoples did not own land but held their territories in trust. Naturally they did not like other people to move in and expropriate their fields or destroy their crops but they usually were good hosts.  Think Turkey at this time of year and one does not usually think of a Christian country - but a bird in the oven! - but rather of a different religion if one is even that enlightened.

So was St Nicholas a real person?
Who is St Nicholas? 
How St Nicholas became Santa Claus

Here is for those who want a more academic work on Saint_Nicholas
Resources on the ecclesiatical bishop St Nicholas of Myra
Evolution of St Nicholas
America and the Creation of Santa Claus
The English Father Christmas
Work of historians, folklorists and critics on the origins of Santa

 And finally why I believe in Santa: the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas By Clement Clarke Moore
but I usually know it as: 'Twas the night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

I know it off by heart but here my source is The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Random House Inc., 1983)


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