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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

San Nicola - Saint Nicholas Day – Dicembre 6

Over the last few days my 2010 post for San Nicola has been appearing in the side bar as a Popular Post.  So I have decided to repost today an updated version as it seems Saint Nicholas is always of interest at this time of the year and lots of you will not have read it before.

Today is the Saints Day for Nicholas, December 6th not only a special day for all the Nicholas’s and Nicola’s in Italy where Saints Days are celebrated by the namesakes, but also today for many other children in Italy this day is seen as the beginning of the Christmas festivities when they receive a present from San Nicola.

This day is celebrated in many different parts of the world, several countries within Europe including Italy, as the day when one of the most popular saints in history died in AD 354.  There are many stories circulating about his life, but true or not there is certainly no doubt that this is the Saint that inspired the much loved character Father Christmas or Babbo Natale as he is known in Italy.
Saint Nicholas (270–6 December 346) was born into a wealthy Greek family and at a young age he devoted his life both to God and to assisting those in need. He grew up in a Greek speaking colony of the Roman Empire

Myra, now part of Turkey, where he became a Bishop of the city. When he died his bones were placed in the cathedral of Myra  which became a popular pilgrimage destination until 1087 when the Turks conquered the city and sailors from Bari rescued the remains and took them to rest in their own city.

He was well known for his generosity and acts of kindness towards others, especially children, according to Wikipedia he is the patron saint to a long list of different groups of people around the world. Children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, prostitutes, repentant thieves, pharmacists,archers and pawnbrokers, what an interesting and varied selection!
The major celebrations in Italy for St. Nicholas (San Nicola) take place in

Bari, Puglia where he is believed to be buried and is the patron of the city. Similar celebrations and traditions are observed in Sassari, on the island of Sardinia where he is also a patron saint of the city. One of the traditions carried out here is the distribution of gifts to young brides to be whose parents cannot afford to help them. This stems from the legend that Saint Nicholas once helped a man by providing dowries for his three daughters, so they could find husbands, rather than being sold into prostitution.  In Trieste, St. Nicholas (San Nicolò) is celebrated with gifts given to children on the morning of 6 December and with a fair called  Fiera di San Nicolo  during the first weeks of December.

There has been an interesting development since Saint Nicholas Day 2009 as it has been proposed that his bones are returned to Turkey.
On 28 December 2009, the Turkish Government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of San Nicola’s bones to Turkey from the Italian government. Turkish authorities have cited the fact that Saint Nicolas himself wanted to be buried at his birthplace. They also state that his remains were illegally removed from Turkey.  Apparently the town of Demre where the ancient town of

Myra, once was has plans to build a museum which once constructed will exhibit relics of ancient civilisations. There is no schedule for these plans yet as far as my research found out, but the Turkish minister stated last year ‘that once built they would naturally ask for the remains of Babbo Natale to be returned from Italy’.

While checking my facts for this updated post yesterday, I was unable to find any more recent references to this happening yet, unless someone reading this knows different?

Buon San Nicola

Italian Male Variations of Nicholas: Niccolò, Nico, Nicola, Nicolò, Nicolas  
Italian Female Variations of Nicola:
Nicoletta, Nicla, Nicole, Nicolina

I researched the facts quoted in this post with thanks to Wikipedia

Christmas window in Marta December 2010.

Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

Other graphics courtesy of Google images and The Graphics Fairy


  1. Love the Christmas window. We have seen nothing this year as I have only gone out when I really needed to. Think this is going to be an unusual Xmas. Just the two of us! Diane x

  2. Great Post and a lovely photo of the Christmas Window.
    Happy St Nicholas Day to you and your loved ones.
    Blessings and prayers.

  3. Such a pretty Christmas window. :-) I haven't seen many signs of Christmas here in Oz, but I hope to soon. :-)

  4. Beautiful window display, bet you don't see many snowmen in Lazio. We returned to Scotland less than a week ago and now have lots and lots of snow - yuk.

  5. Great post Linda. I love the Christmas window. They have now hung decorations in Capodimonte, so we are getting into the festive spirit of things.

  6. Thank you, Lindy, for the BARI link! Bari is my city... it's such a beautiful place, with its massive university, theatres, cinemas, reataurants and its wonderful coastline! The Norman City, so rich in culture and diverse, and... we cook the BEST food!

    I've been in the Basilica di San Nicola. Saint Nick's bones are kept in the crypt (very beautiful!) and so is his fantastic "treasure" of gold and precious gems.

    The main part of the Basilica is just magic! The altar, if I remember well, is mostly solid silver. Been there several times.

    Interesting post and I love the old fashioned pictures.

    Grazie tante...


  7. Hi Linda! I'm so thrilled to have someone stop by from Italy!! Interesting...reading about St. Nicholas and the history behind. The shop window is so beautiful...we don't see that kind of decorations here. Would love to stop by again!

  8. Thank you for reminding me of San Nicola. Life seems to skate by and one forgets to take note of these special dates.

  9. My dear friend Lindy
    Many thanks for TRIBUTE Agios Nikolaos!
    Is my favorite saint and miracle!
    Enough to ask something from your heart!
    Thank you for the whole story you wrote!
    I send you many greetings and kisses

  10. Buon San Nicola! Wait, did I say that right?

    Wonderful post, LindyLou.

  11. This is a great post, Linda. I love reading about St. Nick, especially the story about helping with the daughters' dowries. :D I hope you have a very happy Saint Nicholas Day!!!

    Ricki Jill

  12. How times changes ! When my husband was a little boy (he is 70 now) there was no St Nicolas and no Christmas trees either. Everybody had a big nativity scene (creche ?) he still has his now 68 years old and handmade. It takes a lot of space when all the houses and figurines are displayed. He got his gifts on Santa Befana when the witch came and brought them.
    I visited the church in Myra where St. Nicolaus lived and also saw his sarcophagus.
    at the very end of my post about Turkey you can see the church, his statue and the sarcophagus.

  13. Enjoyed the post and especially the store window. Keep taking those fabulous pictures.

  14. Such an informative and beautiful post! Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my posting concerning St. Nicholas today too!
    Happy St. Nicholas Day!

  15. Hi Linda,
    a refreshing side of Sinterklaas (the dutch version), thanks for this, also, I popped over to your photo blog, beautiful photo's!
    Hope you'll have a good week,
    Maureen x

  16. Linda, Thanks for this beautiful post. I love your telling of this endearing story. Blessings, Ginger

  17. Today is not a special day in northern Italy, where I live. Anyway, buon San Nicola a te!

  18. We would all do well to embody his spirit of doing and caring for others instead of this commercialism that has swept America anyway. Happy Christmas LinyLou

    P.S. My tree is fake as I am allergic to real ones and it is prelit so I do not have to apply the lights.

  19. Hi! Thank you for following my blog and for your kind comments. I have several books about Italy on my "Books I've Read" list--it's one of my favorite topics! This post about St. Nicholas was very interesting, thank you. I look forward to more News from Italy.

  20. Happy Saints Day.....Happy holidays to you and your family.


  21. He was born into a Greek family living in an area now known as Turkey? Very interesting. There certainly is a lot of legend surrounding him and I suppose we will never know the complete truth. He sounds like a reverent, righteous man.

  22. What an interesting post! For some reason I thought that St. Nicola was from Eastern Europe. Happy St. Nicola's Day to you!!

  23. They celebrate this in Germany as well, which is where I first heard of the tradition. I didn't know the real person was from Turkey though!! Thanks for the history lesson!

  24. Thanks so much for sharing this special day, not celebrated in Australia of course. I love the store window and I LOVE Christmas time...ciao lisa x

  25. I love your new header and the photo of the stylish displays in the bomboniere shop window.
    We usually give sweets to our grandchildren on 6th December, following the continental tradition of St. Nicholas' Day.

  26. I learned a lot about him. I didn't think about the history but I need to tell the story to my children.

  27. What a fun post for the holidays! I'm so glad you shared this. I LOVE the Christmas window ;)

  28. LL,
    Thanks for sharing the Saint Nicholas story.
    I love the old fashioned pictures.

    Merry Christmas!


  29. Belated Happy St. Nicholas Day. Hope it was fun.

  30. A wonderful and informative post,Linda. There are quite a few Nicolas in my husband;srelatiuves and we called all of them yesterday to wish them a happy feast day!

  31. Awesome post - very informative and interesting. thanks for sharing.

  32. Happy Holidays to you and ur family.. Have a great one


  33. Great post about Old St Nick.
    6th December saw the start of Christmas decorating around here, too.

  34. Oh, I love learning about different traditions!

  35. The name of my "comune" is Mira..and of course Saint Nicholas is celebrated! Only pupils at school and public administration offices get a day off though...

  36. Soo cute! One thing I REALLLLY LOVE about the holiday season are all the cute and colourful decorations around- esp. the window displays..
    We'll be off to London for the New Year so I'm ANXIOUSLY awaiting to see all the lovely window displays there!! Hugs to you!!

  37. I enjoyed this post as it was so informative about the saintly side of Nicholas, when most people only know about him for the commercial Christmas side. I lived near Bari in Puglia, and never knew (at the time) of the connection!

    Thanks so much for posting this.


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