What Is This German Tradition Called Nikolaus?


Every year on December 6th we celebrate St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas Day owes its name to the holy bishop of Myra, who was born in Lycia (in the southwest of Antalya, today's Turkey) in the third century and baptized with the name "Nicholas".

Although St. Nicholas Day is not a public holiday in Germany, it is one of the most important traditions not only in Germany but all over the world.

On the eve of December 5, children and adults clean their shoes and put them outside the door, hoping to find them filled with sweets and small gifts on the morning of December 6.  For many people, especially for children, St. Nicholas Day represents a special highlight in the Advent season. Cheerful St. Nicholas songs, plates or boots filled overnight and perhaps even a visit from St. Nicholas himself make the day quite fabulous. St. Nicholas is present when the boots are filled, accompanied by fearsome helpers. While St. Nicholas is portrayed as the kind-hearted gift-giver, the task of his mean helpers, including Knecht Ruprecht, is to punish spoiled and naughty children. So the story goes..

More information about this tradition here: https://www.thelocal.de/20191206/15915/



Hannah Köhler

Hi! I'm Hannah and I've been working as a working student at IRC for 1 ½ years now. I was born and raised in Berlin, so I know my city pretty well. I spent a year abroad myself and can relate to the feeling when everything is new pretty well, too. That’s why I am very happy to share my knowledge and experiences with new Berliners.

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