The patron saint of children, merchants, sailors, pawn-brokers, unmarried women and archers is Saint Nicholas. San Nicolo died on December 6, 343.
His bones were placed in a sarcophagus in the cathedral of Myra in Turkey for 7oo years. He is frequently represented carrying three gold balls.
In 1087, the site of his tomb in Turkey was conquered by Seljuk Turks. Sailors from Bari went to Myra to retrieve his bones and brought his Holy Relics to Bari. Pope Urban II placed them in a new crypt and the Basilica of San Nicolo in Bari, Apulia was built to honor him.
According to legend, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in the absence of any other possible employment, they would have to become prostitutes. When Nicholas heard of the poor man’s plight, he decided to help him by donating some of his inherited wealth to this family. Nicholas was too modest to help the man in public and wanted to save the father from the humiliation of accepting charity so he went to his house after dark for three consecutive nights. Each night he threw a bag of gold coins into the window of the poor man’s house. The coins landed in shoes and stockings lying by the fire in the house.
After the second night, the father tried to identify the benevolent donor. When Nicholas heard that the father was attemping to identify the generous donor he decided to modify his strategy. Nicholas dropped the third bag down the chimney instead of throwing it into the window. One of the daughters had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry. The bag of gold fell into the stocking.
Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers; the three gold balls traditionally hung outside a pawnshop symbolizes the three sacks of gold. To this day, Saint Nicholas the “gift-giver” lives in the heart of generous benefactors who give anonymous gifts. Ertha Kitt dedicated this song to “Santa Baby” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbbQwecCzo8
The Feast Day of San Nicolo is celebrated on December 6th in many places in the Abruzzo region with traditional loaves of bread and taralli which are round biscuits that are generally eaten with wine. On his feast day at the Basilica of San Nicolo in Bare, the clergy lower a flask into his tomb to extract some miraculous “Myrrh” to distribute to faithful followers around the world. The vials of myrrh from his relics are crdited with miracles.
On Murano Island in Venice, there is a procession on the water on December 6th. This event kicks off a week long celebration for San Nicolo, the patron saint of glass-blowers.
December 5th ( St. Nicholas Eve) is Krampus Day in Tarvisio Centrale on Via Cesare Augusto in the Province of Udine near the Austrian Border. Krampus accompanies St. Nick at this Festival with a roaring bonfire.
Krampus is his evil fertility devil side-kick with a long tail, fur,chains, birch branches and a big black bag. Send your naughty friends a “Krampus Card” http://krampus.com:8080/krampus-ecard
The Festival of San Nicola in Bari is on May 7-10. He is honored with processions to the sea, pageants, and torchlight parades. The celebration commemorates the sailors of Bari who saved his relics from being possessed by the Turks and brought them to safety in Bari’s.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy
Buon Natale from www.vino-con-vista.com
- International Santas: Krampus Is Checking His List Twice (rosettastone.com)