Thursday, December 08, 2011

Not a reindeer...but a....

So today I took a trip down to one of my favourite stores in Hamilton, especially at this time of the year it brings back a lot of memories about Christmas pasts from my childhood and I just love to look at all the goodies and remember certain things we used to get. As I was starring at the Christmas chocolates I found a 100g chocolate bar with a very Christmas like wrapper, it showed Santa on his sleigh and the sleigh was pulled by nothing else but of all animals ....a donkey. I sort of remembered the donkey being in many German Christmas cards right beside Santa at all times, but I wasn't really sure how he got there or what he really was doing there, well besides the So I checked more into this and reacquainted myself with German Christmas traditions and well here is how it is...and that's so how I remember it, beside the part of the donkey. In Roman Catholic areas of southern Germany, such as Bavaria, Sankt Nikolaus still comes as a bishop with flowing beard and a bishop's miter and staff. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and children clean and polish their shoes or boots in preparation for the saint's visit. On the evening before St. Nicholas Day, children put letters to the good saint along with carrots or other food for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in their shoes. These are left outside, under the bed, beside a radiator, or on a windowsill in hopes of finding goodies from St. Nicholas the next morning. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children's deeds are written. If they have been good, he fills their plate, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and candies. If not, they may find potatoes, coal, or twigs.

Children practice poems and songs for Sankt Nikolaus and make little presents for him. Friends and neighbors come to share in the fun. Candles on the Advent wreath and the big Christmas pyramid with a nativity scene in the center are lit. Stories are read or songs sung as everyone waits for a knock on the door. When it comes, they all know it is Sankt Nikolaus, who comes in with his big book, golden crozier, and a big heavy sack. One of the children gets to hold the golden staff. Each child (and sometimes adults, too) stand in front of the saint. Nikolaus asks each child, "Have you behaved yourself?" "Do you do your homework?" "Do you keep your room tidy?" "Do you help your parents?" Then he opens his big sack and gives presents and candies and treats for all to share. And they give him the little surprises. Nikolaus leaves quickly as he has many places to visit. He travels with a white horse or a donkey and sometimes Ruprecht, his most common German companion, is with him.
( omg I remember when my dad's housekeeper came to our house as St. Nick, of course I didn't know it was him... I thought it was the real St. Nick lol and it was such a amazing experience, because he didn't come every year to your house, you were just the lucky one that year lol or not...depending on how behaved you were lol)


Joan said...

Absolutely charming... thanks for sharing.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

You shared it beautifully. I will have to ask Harry and Gunny if they want to do anything special for Christmas.