Christmas holidays in Europe starting from the day of Saint Nicholas (Saint Nicholas Day) — December 6.
On this day, Catholics revere the memory of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of travelers and children. St. Nicholas Day has religious roots and traditions of celebration, developed by the people for centuries. On the earthly life of St. Nicholas of historical chronicles a little bit. He was born in what is now Turkey, about the year 270, rested on December 6 342 years.
From a young age Nicholas devoted himself to the service of God, was the bishop of Myra, for which he was named the World of Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra). During the persecution of Christians, Nicholas was imprisoned, where he spent eight years. While in custody, despite the torture continued to preach Christianity. Only after coming to power of the Emperor Constantine stopped the persecution of Christians, and the bishop again began to rule his flock. He was also a member of the First Ecumenical Council, held at Nicaea in the year 325.
From historical sources we know that Bishop Nicholas gave the defense three unjustly sentenced to death Byzantines. On the other good deeds of St. Nicholas in the nation composed of stories that are passed down from generation to generation. They tell of how St. Nicholas helped the poor and disadvantaged, and children secretly tossed a coin and go to the door exposed shoes. Another legend tells of how he helped the poor girl to marry her lover, giving her money for a dowry.
In the 10th century in Cologne Cathedral on the feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6 students of the parish school began handing out sweets. And later in Germany in the houses were put up shoes or socks to put St. Nicholas back to the children. These traditions are quickly spread throughout Europe.
However, receive gifts on this day only obedient children, and the disobedient are waiting for the cane. But in anticipation of the holiday kids try not to be naughty, and without gifts from St. Nicholas is not one remains.