11:43 Dec. 19, 2016
The morning of December 19 is the most anticipated time of the first month of winter
Ukraine celebrates the day of St Nicholas today. The holiday of St Nicholas is a magical moment when all well-behaving children receive desired gifts, such as sweets and toys. But all naughty ones discover twigs in their boots.
In Eastern European tradition, kids find presents either under the pillow, or in their shoes, which children leave near their beds before they go to sleep.
In modern times, St Nicholas is mainly considered a fictional character and his name is associated with Christmas and presents. However, the most favorite saint of all Ukrainian children has a real archetype patron.
Read more: Saint Nicholas opens a post office
St Nicholas was a priest, who lived 18 centuries ago. His name was Nicolaus and he was born in a wealthy family. Nevertheless, he decided to dedicate his life to God. He died in 345 AD in the age of 65.
Numerous legends surround the name of the Saint. There is a tale that St Nicholas saved three sisters from prostitution. One man, who was on the verge of poverty, couldn't give trousseau for his daughters, so he decided that the girls should become prostitutes. When St Nicholas found out about this misfortune, he left, anonymously, three pieces of gold for each daughter. Thus, he saved them from the evil fate.
Given that St Nicholas is a patron of voyagers and fishermen, there is a legend that he was a sailor. Once, the wonder-worker managed to save fishermen during terrible storm with his prayer to God. Therefore, voyagers and fishermen pray to St Nicholas and ask for his protection.
Read more: Did you behave this year?
St Nicholas's beneficence didn't know limits: he gave money and food to poor and sick people, and he was also known for his ability to make wonders and heal diseases. Orthodox Christians, who expect miracles and help, still mention St Nicholas in their prayers.
Read more: Ukraine Today's Christmas special