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German Traditions: Nikolaus explained

With December almost here, you may well have started hearing mentions of Nikolaus! If you are new to the German traditions you may not yet know of this much loved tradition so I thought I'd give you a little introduction to it's history and what to do should you want to get involved...

Who is Nikolaus? In simple terms, Nikolaus was a Greek Christian Bishop who was named the Patron Saint of Children thanks to his supposed miraculous acts that involved children and families. Whilst he may well dress similarly to Father Christmas, don't be confused, he isn't the same. Other names for Saint Nikolaus (Sankt Nikolaus) include: der heilige Nikolaus and Pelznickel. As well as being the patron saint of children, he also is the patron saint of sailors, students, teachers and merchants! What happens traditionally for Nikolaus Day? (Nikolaustag) Nikolaus Day takes place on the 6th December each year and the tradition is that children are expected to clean a pair of their dirty boots (or shoes), leave them outside their door and on the morning of the 6th December, if they have been well behaved, they will find some treats inside their boots/shoes. Some people choose to give chocolates, others give sugary sweets/candy and others put in little presents/gifts. It is up to you really. The tradition comes from the fact that Nikolaus is believed to have often left presents/gifts in children's shoes and many religious and non-religious households still follow the tradition.

Will Nikolaus being visiting your household on the eve of the 6th December this year?

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