Sunday, December 6, 2009
A Brush With Greatness
It is a tradition on every Dec. 6th that St. Nikolaus visits children and leaves candy, fruit, nuts and small presents in their boots - assuming they've been good. So it's with great fan-fare when he shows up at a local Chriskindl market. Often he makes appearances at schools and play areas, where children sing songs and recite poetry. Apparently, the history of the St. Nikolaus tradition in Germany has changed over the centuries, when in the past he was accompanied with Knecht Ruprecht (Servant Ruprecht) who would threaten to give the kids a beting if they were not good. In Switzerland, where he is called Schmutzli, he would threaten to put bad children in a sack and take them back to the dark forest. Apparently, these traditions were quite rigid in Catholic regions like Bavaria. Fortunately, all of that has changed and now the custom has turned more to what we know in the US as Santa Claus. What is nice, is they've kept all of the traditional dress as you can see here. No Red costum, but rather St. Nikolaus looks more like the pope than Stana Claus.