December 06, 2008
St. Nicholas Day.
Today is Saint Nicholas day.
St. Nicholas, or Agios Nikolaos, was a Turkish saint and bishop. He had a reputation for secret gift giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and is now commonly identified with Santa Claus.
However, when I was growing up in Eastern Europe, St Nicholas day was celebrated independently of Christmas on the 6th of December. Gifts would have been delivered by Mikuláš, as St Nicholas was called in Slavic. He would be dressed as a bishop and would walk the street in company of an angel and a devil like creature.
This celebration is still very pronounced in central Europe and even though not celebrated in Scandinavia, I always think of presents comes the 6th of December.