…will be held for the first time this year, hosted by the Ft. Wayne Maennerchor/Damenchor, located at PARK EDELWEISS (3355 Elmhurst Drive). The date for this event will be Saturday, December 6, which is St. Nikolaus Day. Breakfast with Saint Nikolaus begins at 10 in the morning on St. Nikolaus Day.
St. Nikolaus lived over 1400 years ago. He is said to have been from the first saintly child. Wonderful stories are related of his good deeds, and some of them are commemorated to this day in the various churches of Europe.
Historically Saint Nikolaus was a real-life bishop in the city of Myra in what is now Turkey. Saint Nikolaus earned his sainthood for numerous miracles, but his neighbors knew him best as a kind and generous man with a great fondness for children. Today, in many parts of the world Saint Nikolaus delivers gifts on the eve of his Feast Day, December 6, and Christmas is reserved for the religious observance of Christ’s birth.
Celebrating Saint Nikolaus Day gives us a good “teaching moment” to remind children that Jolly Santa Claus, is, in fact, Saint Nikolaus.
Saint Nikolaus was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, bringing three slain boys back to life, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. For these reasons, he is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.
Traditional celebrations of Saint Nikolaus Day in Northern Europe included gifts left in children’s shoes (the origin of our American Christmas stockings). Good children receive treats – candies, cookies, apples and nuts, while naughty children receive switches or lumps of coal. Sometimes coins were left in the shoes, reminiscent of the life-saving dowries the saint provided. Today, especially in families of German extraction, children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nikolaus Day, and expect to find candy and coins or small gifts in their shoe on December 6th.
In some households the father of the family may dress up as Saint Nikolaus on the eve of his feast. He comes in, sometimes with his sidekick, Krampus or Black Peter, and helps each child examine his conscience. He admonishes the bad and rewards the good.
Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nikolaus’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.
Festivities at PARK EDELWEISS will include breakfast accompanied by traditional German Christmas music. The children will then be able to participate in activities such as learn German Christmas carols, and hear master of ceremonies, Peter Jungk, tell the story of Saint Nikolaus. Volunteers will help the younger children formulate their Christmas list (Wuensch Zettleln) in both English and German. Christel Gehlert and Peter Jungk will be telling stories. Marilyn Forrester will have cookies for the children to decorate with edible decorations. Plaster ornaments will be available for the children to paint (bring a painting shirt if you wish), or make an ornament from straw or popsicle sticks as a present for their parents.
The main attraction will be Saint Nikolaus himself, dressed in a traditional costume, handmade by Sharon Molargik, a Damenchor member. The outfit is true to the likeness found in many old representations of
SAINT NIKOLAUS. Don’t forget your camera! Cost will be $7 with reservations recommended. Reservation forms can be obtained online at www.fortwaynemaennerchor.us/, or call Carol Jackson (482-9922) or Marianne Klaffke (625-6907) for more information.
I don’t object to “Santa Claus,”
“Kris Kringle,” and the rest;
But looking into it, I find
St. Nikolaus suits me best!