Nicholas

Little is known about Nicholas of Myra, a bishop in Asia Minor in the early 4th century. Legend abounds with tales of his miracles. For instance, Nicolas restored to life three boys who had been murdered, giving rise to his image as the patron of children. According to another story, the bishop paid the dowry of three daughters of a poor nobleman by throwing bags of gold into their house. Nicholas also became the patron of sailors, but was primarily the saint of good deeds. Based on this is the feast of Saint Nicholas held on 5 December, the eve of his name day. Since the Middle Ages, Dutch children have put out their shoes in front of the fireplace at night, to find them filled with candy and little presents the next morning. In the 20th century ‘Sinterklaas’ also became a celebration for adults. Friends and family members exchange gifts, often with personalized, teasing poems and special, handmade presents called ‘surprises’. Traditional treats include spiced biscuits and peppernuts.

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