Saint Nicholas's Day: The origins and folklore of the Santa Claus myth
Nicholas (Nikolaus) (c. 270 - 345/352) became a Bishop of Myra in Lycia, Asia Minor when quite young. From this fact arose the old European tradition of Boy Bishops, who reigned from December 6 to 28, in a parody of church officials. More of that later.
Among Christians, he is also known as the "Wonderworker". Several acts of kindness and miracles are attributed to him ...
Saint Nikolaus or St Nicholas is celebrated in several Western European countries. His reputation for gift giving comes partly from a story of three young women who were too poor to afford a dowry for their marriages: as each reached a marriagable age, Nicholas surreptitiously threw a bag of gold into the house at night. Some versions of the legend say that the girls' father, trying to discover their benefactor, kept watch on the third occasion, but Nicholas dropped the third bag down the chimney instead. For his helping the poor, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers; the three gold balls traditionally hung outside a pawnshop are symbolic of the three sacks of gold.
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