posted Mon, 06 Dec 2004
Today is Saint Nicholas’ Day. See what Minor Clergy has to say for the religious aspect of it.
What this means in my family is that you get candy in your shoes. I don’t know if this is a Norwegian tradition or a Slovak one or if it’s a tradition my mom’s family borrowed, but it’s something my mom’s family did.
The first time we celebrated Saint Nicholas’ Day was in 1973, when we moved back to the US from Spain. We lived in Spain for four years when my dad was stationed at Torrejón AFB outside of Madrid. In Spain, we got to have the Three Kings bring presents. Los Tres Reyes come on the Feast of the Epiphany, I think, in early January. I’m going to have to look that up. One really nice thing about being a military brat is you get to have holidays from everywhere you live.
We came back in December and spent a month in Wisconsin, whence my parents. My mom’s parents had just retired and sold their farm and were renting another old farmhouse while their house in town was being built. We were staying with them in this big, old, cold, drafty house. I was ten, my brother was nine, and my sister was six.
Jenny and I shared a bedroom upstairs. I don’t think there was any heat in this house except for the big stove in the kitchen. When we would get up in the morning, we would grab our clothes and rush downstairs to get dressed by this stove. We left our shoes and boots in the kitchen.
So this one morning, we got up to go to school (my parents put us in school for the time we were there – we were at St Louis Catholic School, my dad’s alma mater), rushed downstairs to get dressed and eat breakfast. Jenny went to put on her boots, which had been next to the stove all night, and suddenly exclaimed indignantly, “Hey! Who put this trash in my boots?”
When she stuck her hand in to remove said trash, she discovered candy instead. This is a nice holiday to have! (Poor atheists miss so much…)