Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th of each year in honor of the man known as Saint Nicholas.  Saint Nicholas is the canonical and most popular name for Kikolaos of Myra, a saint and Greek Bishop of Myra.  Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker.  He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.  His reputation evolved among the faithful, as is common for early Christian saints.  In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari.

The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, usually on 6 December, is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the Anglo-Canadian and British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. “Santa Claus” is itself derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas.