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Celebrating Hanukkah & St. Nicholas Day

Celebrating Hanukkah & St. Nicholas Day

Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day are just around the corner.  How will you be celebrating?

‘Twas the night before… Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day! That’s right, tomorrow (December 6th) is both St. Nicholas Day and the beginning of the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah starts tomorrow at sunset and is a celebration of the Israelites’ victory over the Syrian Greek army. That victory allowed them to restore the menorah in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Miraculously, the one vial of oil found, usually only enough to light the menorah for one day, lasted eight full days. Hence, the eight day celebration of the Festival of Lights, which wraps up on December 14th this year.

Tomorrow is also St. Nicholas Day. It’s often celebrated by leaving a shoe outside your bedroom or hanging a stocking by the fireplace on December 5th, anticipating St. Nicholas filling it with treats and gifts! It’s most commonly observed in German, Dutch, Belgian, and Polish communities in the United States.

In many places St. Nicholas is the main gift giver. His feast day falls early in the Advent season. Some places he arrives in the middle of November and moves about the countryside, visiting schools and homes to find out if children have been good. Other places he comes in the night and finds carrots and hay for his horse or donkey along with children’s wish lists. Small treats are left in shoes or stockings so the children will know he has come.

Where St. Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary gift giving day. Parties may be held on the eve, December 5th, and shoes or stockings left for St. Nicholas to fill during the night. Children will find treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special Nicholas candies and cookies. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.

My eldest child, is named Nicholas.  His birthday is December 30th and his father and I decided that since his birthday is so close to Christmas he should have the honor of the name of Nicholas.

Ironically, and unbeknownst to me, my mother had a brother whose name was Nicolas (the Spanish spelling).  He had passed away before I was born so I didn’t know about him until we named our son Nicholas and then the family trivia was shared!

The Maria Sanchez Show team hopes you and your family have a wonderful time celebration Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day during this holiday season.

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