Today is St. Nicholas Day, everyone! Happy feast day!
I've mentioned my fondness for St. Nicholas in this space before, and I shall not go into all that again today. Suffice it to say, St. Nicholas is a really great saint - a far more interesting character than the distant relative, Santa Claus - and one who deserves to be far better known than he is.
My family has been celebrating St. Nicholas Day for years now. We leave out shoes, as per the custom, and St. Nicholas obliging fills them with candy and things. I usually light a candle in front of my very fine statue of the good saint (depicted in this very poor picture):
We are a very food oriented family. When a celebration is in the offing, we always start by planning what we're going to eat... and drink too, for that matter. There is always a nice dinner on St. Nicholas day. (There is a pot roast cooking at present, fragrant in a broth of rosemary and ale) We will often brew up a very hearty batch of bisschopswhijn which is perfect for the cold winter nights. It is all very festive, very fun, and thoroughly seasoned in tradition. What is not to love about it?
In celebration of the Day, here is a hymn in honour of the saint.
This is a particularly interesting song, from a linguistic and historical point of view, being one of the earliest English language songs to be preserved with its lyrics
The words are as follows:
Sainte Nicholas, Godes druth
Timbray us faire scone hus
At thee burthe, at thee hare,
Sainte Nicholas, bring us well thare.
With the translation:
Saint Nicholas, God's beloved,
Build for us a fine dwelling place
At time of birth, at time of death,
St. Nicholas, bring us safely there.
And on that note, may St. Nicholas bless and guide you all.