5 December 2013
Tomorrow is St Nicholas Day, another one of the saints celebrated here in Germany.
There are many legends surrounding St Nicholas, who lived in the 3rd to 4th century AD and was Bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. One story has it that a father who had three daughters wanted to force his eldest to work as a prostitute, as he could not afford to care for them all. When Nicholas heard this he came by in the dead of the night and threw gifts of gold through the girls’ windows.
In Germany we put out our shoes on the evening before – much like hanging out stockings on Christmas Eve elsewhere in the world. St Nicholas won’t necessarily leave you gifts of gold, but if you’ve been good he might leave you sweets, nuts, fruit or other small presents. However, if you’ve been naughty, you might find a birch rod in your shoe instead!