Saint Nicholas Day is called one of the brightest and kindest holidays of the year for a good reason.
Annually, on December 19, from the early hours, children looking for presents under their pillows, while adults are smiling and watching their actions and further unaffected joy; many of them also exchange the presents. Alternatively, after pretending to be adults, they run to the bedroom to look under the pillow.
Because everyone, deep down inside, would like to return to childhood sometimes. And there is no better assistant in such a case than Saint Nicholas. The most interesting fact is that unlike many fairytale characters, Nicholas really existed.
The future sainted was born 270 A.D. in Patara, Lycia peninsula.
The parents of a boy were passionate believers and raised the son in Christendom.
Unfortunately, when Nicholas was of full age he lost his parents. Nicholas used the heritage of father and mother to help people in need.
Nicholas was compared to an angel
However, a common man did good for people. He used gold from the heritage to help a young girl from a poor family as her beloved was from a rich family and his parents did not want to hear anything about such a couple.
From time to time he helped disadvantaged people, bringing warm clothes, toys and food. Nicholas tried to help everyone he can.
The whole life of Nicholas was dedicated to God and helping others. Later, he became archbishop.
Saint Nicholas patronizes not only children
Nicholas is also a guarding of students, drivers and sailors. It is also considered that the saint saves people from natural calamities.
Besides, married women might pray to Nicholas, asking for a peaceful family life.
The presents depend on the behavior
To be an obedient child is the main condition (however, many parents turn a blind eye).
According to the rules, good children get the present under the pillion; while naughty children get a cane. In fact, not many parents are ready to spoil a holiday for their children.
Many different things are presented. Usually, it is sweets or toys. But the presents are really different.
There are many traditions and all of them are different
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, dressed up Mikuláš appears in the bishop gown with a long white bear, accompanied by angel and devil. They are visiting houses on the night or December 5 to December 6.
Angel and Mikuláš give presents; while devil punishes symbolically naughty children.
In the Alpine region, the companion of Saint Nicholas is Krampus (devil). According to the legend, on the evening, December 5, Krampus accompanies Saint Nicholas, punishing naughty children and scaring them. In other words, Nicholas and Krampus play good and bad policemen.
It is used that Krampus is presented in Austria, southern Bavaria, Hungaria, Slovenia, and other countries of the Alpine region.
According to old Ukrainian tradition, the senior heads of the village gathered to brew wheat beer on the holiday. After the event, they were riding sleigh around the village with songs and fun. Children were presented with special cookies- mykolaichyky (honey gingerbreads).
In the Kharkiv region, people usually celebrated three-day Nicholas festivous events and cooked kutya and uzvar believing that it ensures a harvest of rye and fruit.
All over Ukraine, people gathered for health dinners in honor of Saint Nicholas with the preparation of ritual honey and beer.
It is believed that if on this day a man observes frost – the harvest of bread will be good; a man observes rain – the winter crops will grow well; freeze – the large harvest of bread and vegetables is expected.
If on this day the snow is falling on roads, the winter will be cold and long.