St. Nicholas Eve - Sinterklaas Day
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St. Nicholas Eve

With St. Nicholas Eve we see the recurring winter motif of the orange fruit, as seen in the Japanese Yuzu. We also see the theme of the gold coins, which appear in shoes--not unlike gifts in a stocking. Together we see the solar motif in the coin and gold fruit, which might be compared with the golden apples of Hercules, Arthur, the Norse and Narts that also relate to the sun. The gift of the golden ball, the gift of the sun, is the gift of light's return.
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With St. Nicholas Eve we see the recurring winter motif of the orange fruit, as seen in the Japanese Yuzu. We also see the theme of the gold coins, which appear in shoes--not unlike gifts in a stocking. Together we see the solar motif in the coin and gold fruit, which might be compared with the golden apples of Hercules, Arthur, the Norse and Narts that also relate to the sun. The gift of the golden ball, the gift of the sun, is the gift of light's return.
St. Nicholas Day, feast day (December 6) of St. Nicholas, the 4th-century bishop of Myra. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia and Greece, of a number of cities, and of sailors and children, among many other groups, and was noted for his generosity. Some countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 5. Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on Monday, December 6, 2021.

In parts of northern Europe, particularly the Low Countries and some German-speaking areas, St. Nicholas Day has remained a time when children are given special cookies, candies, and gifts. In many places, children leave letters for St. Nicholas and carrots or grass for his donkey or horse. In the morning, they find small presents under their pillows or in the shoes, stockings, or plates they have set out for him. Oranges and chocolate coins are common treats that represent St. Nicholas’s legendary rescue of three impoverished girls by paying their marriage dowries with gold. Candy canes, which have the shape of a bishop’s crosier, are also given.
Saint Nicholas Day, also called the Feast of Saint Nicholas, observed on 5 December or on 6 December in Western Christian countries, and on 19 December in Eastern Christian countries using the old church Calendar, is the feast day of Saint Nicholas of Myra; it falls within the season of Advent.[3] It is celebrated as a Christian festival with particular regard to Saint Nicholas' reputation as a bringer of gifts, as well as through the attendance of church services.[4][5][6]

In the European countries of Germany and Poland, boys have traditionally dressed as bishops and begged alms for the poor.[7] In Poland, children wait for St. Nicholas to come and to put a present under their pillows provided that the children were good during the year. Children who behaved badly may expect to find a twig or a piece of coal under their pillows. In the Netherlands, Dutch children put out a shoe filled with hay and a carrot for Saint Nicholas' horse.
On the eve of his day, on December 5, he pays nocturnal visits with his side kick Black Peter (or Zwarte Piet), his alter ego wielding coal for ne’er-do-wells who have not been so nice over the past year.

Children leave their shoes out in the hopes to find small gifts on the morning of December 6th.

The spirit of St. Nicholas Eve and day is one focused on giving over receiving, remembering those less fortunate and that St. Nicholas loved children.

Oranges or tangerines are often found (as well as in Christmas stockings) as they symbolize the gold balls St. Nicholas would throw to the children.
For most children in The Netherlands, the most important day during December is 5th December, when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) brings them their presents!

St. Nicholas' Day is on the 6th December, but in The Netherlands, the major celebrations are held on the 5th December, St. Nicholas' Eve. The name Santa Claus comes from the name Sinterklaas.

It all starts on the second Saturday of November (the first Saturday after 11th November) when Sinterklaas travels to a city or town in The Netherlands. Dutch tradition says that St. Nicholas lives in Madrid, Spain and every year he chooses a different harbour to arrive in The Netherlands, so as many children as possible get a chance to see him.

Sinterklass travels with his servants called 'Zwarte Pieten' ('Black Peters') or 'Sooty Pieten'/'Roetpieten' (Sooty or Chimney Peters). When Sinterklaas and the Piets come ashore from the steam boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. Sinterklaas, dressed in his red robes, leads a procession through the town, riding a white horse. Every town in The Netherlands has a few Sinterklaas helpers, dressed the same as Sinterklaas and the Piets who help give the presents out.
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