One of the most beloved winter holidays is approaching. December 6th is a special day for both children and grown-ups when everyone is waiting for Saint Nicholas. Tonight, children are preparing their boots for the most expected gifts and adults relive beautiful moments of their childhood. Saint Nicholas Day is the first holiday of the season and announces the beginning of a magical month.
Saint Nicholas Day
The children learned from their parents and grandparents that Saint Nicholas is the one who leaves gifts and candies in their boots if they have been good in the past year or sticks (or rods) if they have been bad. According to the legend, Saint Nicholas used to protect ordinary people and those in need by leaving coins or candies in their shoes. He was born in the town of Patara in the third century and was named Bishop of Myra (in Turkey).
Myra – The Hometown Of Saint Nicholas
If you want to learn more about the significance of the celebration of St. Nicholas you should visit the ancient city of Myra, now a well-known cultural tourist attraction in Turkey. The origins of this settlement are unknown and mysterious. Here you can visit St. Nicholas Church, an architectural masterpiece built in the 6th century and renovated several times during the last centuries – the most recent renovation works were started in 1960.
Inside the church visitors can see the sarcophagus of Saint Nicholas – although his remains are in Bari, Italy – along with icons and ancient religious paintings.
Archaeologists have discovered here a Greco-Roman amphitheater. The remains of the ancient theater contain 38 rows of seats and you can still see decorative elements depicting different scenes from Greek mythology. Tombs carved into the rock and decorated with stone carvings, masks and human figures were also found at Myra and some of them still retain some of the original colors.
I am sure that after a trip to the city where Saint Nicholas was born you will find out more about the legends about this holiday, celebrated mainly in countries with Christian religion.
Don’t forget to come back here tomorrow and tell us what St. Nick left you in your boots: candies or sticks?
*Photo by donsimon