17:48 Dec. 6, 2016
Catholic world, as well as some other churches, like Greece orthodox, today celebrate the Saint Nicholas Day.
With this article, we start the holiday season at Ukraine Today. Every day we will introduce you to one more Ukrainian Christmas tradition or holiday.
While Saint Nicholas Day is marked on 19 December in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Western Christian countries celebrate the feast day today, on December 6. On this day, parades and festivals take place.
In Western tradition, Saint Nicholas brings small gifts to well-behaving children, meanwhile his evil half-goat companion, Krampus, puts all bad children in his sack and abducts them.
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Saint Nicholas is an inspiration for such figures as Santa Claus and Father Frost. In Germany public refers to him as Nikolaus, in the Netherlands he is known as Sinterklaas.
In some parts of Europe, Saint Nicholas is often accompanied by his slave, Black Pete. In recent years, the figure of Pete became controversial. Some people spot racism in this tradition, but others say that Pete is black from cleaning chimneys.
Nicholas of Myra was a prototype of Saint Nicholas. He was a 4th century Greek bishop of the community of Myra, in Asia Minor, who then became a Saint. Nicholas was famous for making gifts – he used to put coins in people's shoes. And Christmas tradition of gift-giving takes its roots from here.