Saint Nicholas Day in Germany

Hello everyone and Happy St. Nicholas Day to you. Well, today we actually have double celebration – St. Nicholas Day and 2nd Advent! Yes, today is the day to light the second candle in your Advent Wreath! However, today, we are going to talk about St. Nicholas Day and how it is celebrated in Germany.

Back in Ukraine, it used to be one of my favorite holidays. I would wake up in the morning and immediately put my hand under the pillow and start searching for a sweet present from St. Nicholas. If I didn’t find one under my pillow, I would jump off the bed and rush into the corridor and start looking into every single shoe of mine. Because sometimes St. Nicholas could also hide presents there. That childish happiness and joy when I found my favorite chocolate inside the shoe. That day I would go to school and the main topic of discussion among kids would be what St. Nicholas brought us this year.

So, who is St. Nicholas? It is believed that the figure behind nowadays St. Nicholas is a bishop Nicholas of Myra, who was very famous for his generosity and kindness, especially towards kids. In Germany, this day is celebrated in rather small scale, mostly popular among children. It is no official holiday – and, yes, you still have to go to school, university or work. However, it was quite surprising for me to find out that in Germany, actually, the tradition of celebration is rather similar to my home country. With some differences of course – starting with the fact that the celebration itself in Germany is on 6th of December, while in Ukraine official St. Nicholas Day is 19th of December. The ways of celebration are very resounding though. Just as in Ukraine, children are getting treats on this day. Some children in Germany even still put out their shoes in front of the door on the evening of 5th of December in hope that St. Nicholas will fill them in with sweets overnight. In the morning, right after waking up children also rush to see if they got some treats this year. It is believed that St. Nicholas only brings sweets to those children who have been polite, nice and helpful to their parents. I guess the behavior of children changes much to a positive side some time close to this day.

So, some might say that this holiday is exclusively for children, but from my experience some companies also give their employees a small surprise on this day in the form of chocolate Santa Clause – “Yey, adults also deserve sweets!”. There is no official way to congratulate somebody with St. Nicholas Day, but if you feel like boasting your German and congratulate your German colleagues or neighbors, you can easily say “Ich wünsche einen schönen Nikolaustag” (“I wish you a nice St. Nicholas Day”) or “Alles liebe zum Nikolaustag!” (“All the best for St. Nicholas Day”). And here you go – a smile from your neighbor guaranteed! 

Once again – Happy St. Nicholas Day to you! Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Stay tuned, more posts are on the way. 

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