Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas Day

Today is St. Nicholas Day. It's celebrated in Belgium and the Netherlands and where ever Dutch and Belgians are found around the world. The day is also celebrated to a lesser extent in Germany and eastern Europe. Its a day of gift giving, mostly small treats like fruit and nuts. Saint Nicholas was born on December 6, 346 A.D. His common name is Nicholas of Myra. He is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children and students in Greece, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro, and also patron saint of Barranquilla (Columbia), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Beit Jala in the West Bank of Palestine and of Liverpool (England). In 1809, the New York Historical Society convened and retroactivelynamed "Sancte Claus" patron saint of Nieu Amsterdam, the Dutch name for New York. So, that is a little background information on this special day!

We are now into December and closer to Christmas. The photo above depicts native Saami on the Kola peninsula in northern Russia. Now do you have any idea where the reindeer idea came from in the current story of Santa Claus? We can thank Thomas Nast, a German-American, for writing a version of the story in the 1880s, a story which has stuck with us since then. I'll present more posts on the Christmas theme as we get closer to the end of the year.

Speaking of Christmas, our client and her department are celebrating Christmas by having a dinner at a local restaurant on the 17th of this month. Those of us that work during the day have been invited, so I'll be going along with camera in hand to this event. This means more photos to post on the Christmas theme. More to look forward to! - Volker

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