Is Nikolaus the same as Santa Claus?
Though they have similar outfits, Nikolaus is not to be confused with Santa Claus, who Germans call the Weihnachtsmann, or Father Christmas. They are two different people. In fact, many religious families try to focus more on Nikolaus earlier in December to ensure that Christmas is actually about Jesus’ birth, and not presents from an Americanized and commercialized Santa.
Who is Nikolaus, then?
Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children.
Why do children set their shoes out on the night of December 5th? Doesn’t he have any?
Of course Nikolaus has shoes. The custom began because the historical St. Nicholas had a reputation for leaving secret gifts, such as coins, in people’s shoes overnight. Kids traditionally put out their boots, though shoes or stockings will suffice for those without boots.
And the boots have to be polished first?
Definitely. Dirty boots are unacceptable. Children polish their boots to show they’ve been good. They usually place just one boot outside their door so they don’t appear too greedy, though.
One polished boot: Check! What happens next?
Read more or come by to our "Herrnhuter Sterne booth" at the Vancouver Christmas Market. The staff is happy to tell you all about their own experiences during their childhood in Germany. Even our brilliant "Herrnhut Stars" are a great tradition from long time ago. Find out more about the history and all available colors and sizes on our website www.mybrilliantstar.com.
Did you ever struggle to find the right gift for your loved ones far away? We have the solution! There is always a reason to celebrate - and reasons to surprise someone far away. At this time of the year, we would love to support you giving joy to family and friends.
The "Special Edition 2018" has arrived! We are pleased to announce that the Special Edition 2018 has made its way to Canada. This year, there is a limited edition of the 13cm/5inch Herrnhut star in the colour MAGENTA.