On the eve of Nikolaustag the Christmas festivities officially begin in Germany! You see, December 6th is St Nikolaus' Day and on the even prior to his day he officially arrives and brings treats or a wooded switch, depending on if you were naughty or nice!
I remember, we lived just outside Erlangen, in northern Bavaria when the children were small. Local university students would go on an official registry for jobs as Saint Nikolaus! It was up to the parents to have a page prepared in secret, listing what each child had done that was good or naughty. Naturally, the good should always outweigh the bad!
The student would arrive at the front door after dark on the eve of St Nikolaus' Day, all dressed up as a bishop from the past, with his large cane and fancy robe and hat and, of course, his long white beard. With him was THE GOLDEN BOOK that lists all of the children in the world. He has been taking notes all year, watching what they do. At the door, the parent slips him a piece of paper with the information on their children for his book.
He also has a sack with gifts and switches. The parents have the gifts all prepared for him to pop into his sack. The children know he is coming and are waiting in the living room, with door closed, in anticipation.
In walks Saint Nikolaus! He has just arrived in town! He greets everyone, sits in a chair and opens his book! He reads how good they were and reads a couple of things they did wrong recently to make the point that he knows! He reminds them that they must be good and makes them promise not to do these bad things again! Of course, wide eyed, they promise! Then he smiles, and passes out gifts, telling him that he is pleased he will not have to use the switches on them!!!!!
Of course, this is over all too soon, since he has all of the children in the world to visit on that one night!!! My children always loved seeing St Nikolaus!!!! It is one of the best days of the year!!!!
This year, my son Sascha will be flying to Germany again to spend the holidays with his father and half brothers and step-mother. I would love to go with him! Christmas in Germany is the best!!! Especially since where my x lives is a 20 minute ride north of Nuremberg - that is the area we lived in and the kids were born in. If you ever get to Germany during the Christmas holidays, you have to see the Nuremberger Christmas Market! There is NOTHING in the world like it! It has been carried on as it is for hundreds of years! It is enormous, wonderful and oh so German!!!!
And with that, an early HAPPY NIKOLAUS DAY TO ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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