Posted on November 28, 2014 | 0 Comments
This charming vintage German postcard of Saint Nicholas walking hand-in-hand with the Christkind celebrates Christmas as experienced by children in many parts of the world (especially the Netherlands, Germany, and the Ukraine).
The Christkind brings presents on Christmas Eve. As we noted in an earlier blog entry the Christkind is the Symbol of the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt. Especially in Bavaria the German Christmas Markets are known as Christkindlmarkts (after the Christ Kind - or Christ Child). "The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. Sometimes the Christ Child is, instead of the infant Jesus, interpreted as a specific angel bringing the presents, as it appears in some processions together with an image of little Jesus Christ. It seems also to be rooted in the Alsatian-born myth of a child bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Children never see the Christkind in person, and parents tell them that Christkind will not come and bring presents if they are curious and try to spot it. The family enters the living room, where the Christmas tree has been put up, for the opening of presents (the Bescherung) when the parents say that they think that the Christkind who has brought the presents has now left again. In some traditions, the departure is announced by the ringing of a small bell, which the parents pretend to have heard or which is secretly done by one of the adults in the family." - Wikipedia
St. Nicholas symbolizes generosity and brings presents on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day). We remember telling our children when they asked if Santa Claus was real, that he was the spirit of giving. This year Inge-Glas offers for the first time this ornament of St. Nikolaus
Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated with unique variations in many different European countries: "The tradition of Saint Nicholas' Day, on 6 December (19 December in most Orthodox countries), is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of Saint Nicholas,.... The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. "Santa Claus" is itself derived in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas." - Wikipedia
He may arrive by horse, donkey, or boat, and, in areas of the world where Saint Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary day of presents. Shoes or stockings may be left out for him the night before, to be found the next morning filled with small gifts, cookies, and sweets. Thus, in Germany, both Saint Nicholas and the Christkind bring small gifts - one in honor of the Christ Child and one in honor of a venerated Saint. In America, many of us enjoy spreading out our traditional Christmas, enjoying Saint Nicholas Day, during the early part of Advent, as a special time to share the importance of generosity and giving.