Today, 6 December, is the feast of ...
* Nicholas, of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan (fourth century)
- above-noted descriptor is from the title of a superb
book, subtitled 'Biography of a Legend', by Charles W.
Jones (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press,
1978), which contains more fascinating trivia than you can
shake a stick at
- patron of Christmas shoppers
As Marleen Cre informed us at this time last year:
In some regions of Belgium and in the Netherlands, this
saint has the function of Santa, although the way he brings
people toys and where he comes from are different. Dutch
and Belgian customs differ as well. Sinterklaas (the Dutch
name for Nicholas as Santa) either lives in Spain or in
heaven. (This poses immense problems for some children,
because he cannot live in two places at once. This problem
causes many children to lose their belief.) On the evening
of 5 December, you put your shoe in front of the fire
(because Sinterklaas travels across roofs on a white horse
and drops presents through the chimney - - problem in
modern houses with central heating !). In your shoe you put
a carrot, a turnip or lumps of sugar for the horse. In the
morning the child finds sweets and toys. It's only lucky
children who find sweets and toys. Naughty children are
taken away by Sinterklaas's help, Black Peter. Sinterklaas
infallibly knows whether you have been a good child or not.
As such he is a handy child-rearing aid, especially when 6
December draws near.
An example of how saints' lives influence folklore. Read
more in :
Van Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas : de kracht van een verhaal.
Leuven : Davidsfonds, 1989.
(Thanks, Marleen!) (And sorry Sophie that I posted this so late!)
* Dionysia, Majoricus, Dativa, Emilian, Boniface and
Tertius, martyrs (484)
- killed during persecutions in Africa by Arian king,
* Abraham, bishop of Kratia (c. 558)
- after 10 years as an abbot, he fled secretly into
Palestine, but was forced to return; soon after, he was
named bishop, but after another 13 years he again fled,
this time for a permanent stay in a Palestinian monastery
* Peter Pascual, bishop of Jaen, martyr (1300)
- tutor in Aragon's royal household; when young prince
Sancho was made archbishop of Toledo, Peter was appointed
- later, imprisoned by Moslems, he wrote a treatise against
Islam; this led to his martyrdom
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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