Von drauss’ vom Walde komm ich her- From the forest, there I come…
On the 5th of December Mama used to tell us kids:
“Make sure you clean your boots properly, St Nikolaus will come tonight”
Always a little nervous but mostly excited, we made sure that we picked the nicest (not to mention the biggest…come on now) looking boots for St Nikolaus.
We would leave little messages for him to take away, thanking him for his kindness or try to explain why we weren’t able to get the dent out of the boot and that we had done our best for him. Desperately trying to stay awake so we can snatch a quick look we never succeeded but nevertheless, St Nikolaus ALWAYS came.
On the morning of the 6th of December our hearts started racing as we climbed down our bunkbed. When we discovered that St Nikolaus had left us: oranges, Apples, nuts, little handmade stars, chocolates, Lebkuchen and sometimes even a 5 DM coin each we were overcome with joy and couldn’t wait to go to school to tell everyone about it.
Knowing that he did not mind that our boots did not look perfect but appreciated that we had at least tried, sent quite a message to me; especially after hearing stories about Knecht Ruprecht who my mums family (who are from the Ore Mountains) never failed to mention whenever we came around for a visit.
It was said that Knecht Ruprecht would come out of the forest, wearing a dark brown- dusty coat, covering half his face with a big hood. He would drag a big Jute bag behind him, which was filled with Coals. His arrival would be announced with little bells (the kind you would find on a horse harness), that he had wrapped around his ankles and a deep voice would come forth as he lifted his rod, ready to punish kids who had behaved badly over the year.
In some other regions ( such as Bavaria and Austria) the evil character who punishes kids is known as KRAMPUS.
Not really bed time material, considering that your grandparents house laid just opposite a big forest.
The historic real-life Nikolaus was a bishop in the 4th Century of the city of Myra (todays Western turkey)
It was said that he was not only a very kind hearted man but also delivered his city from a great famine and has ever since been celebrated as a generous saint.
He died on the 06/12 which has now become the day, on which he is celebrated in numerous countries.
Do you celebrate St Nikolaus or have any other traditions you enjoy?
Please share, I’d love to hear it all!