this email is directed at those among our guest scholars who have children.
On December 6th, the catholic church commemorates the life of St. Nicholas of Myrna (in what is now Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.
In modern Germany, the Nikolaus-celebration is an occasion on which children receive presents. Normally the gifts are placed in the children´s shoes and found on the 6th in the morning. Sometimes a parent, playing Nikolaus and dressed in a red coat and with a white beard, arrives at the kindergarden and distributes the gifts. Here the distinction between Nikolaus and Santa Claus is confused.
I brought my wife and my son to the celebration. There were many kids there, from many countries. It was really an international party. Candies and tea were on the tables, which made my son happy. The president of International Club, Frau Simper, gave us a warm welcome. Children started to play musical instruments and sing a song together. It sounded like a fairy-tale atmosphere. After a short break, Nicolas came in, wearing red clothes, with a big bag on his back. Children cheered. Nicolas put down his bag, and sat in a chair. Children were looking at him for the gifts. He called children’s names one by one, and they got their gifts, even babies younger than 1 year old! My son did not like his gift, but he was happy. He clapped and sang with other children, but no one knew what he sang!