The Protestant Netherlands, however, retain a much larger Saint Nicholas tradition.
Among the Greeks and Italians, Saint Nicholas is a favorite of sailors, fishermen, ships and sailing.
Saint Nicholas Day is a festival for children in much of Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts.
Taking advantage of the confusion, sailors from Bari, Italy, seized the remains of Saint Nicholas from his grave over the objections of the Orthodox monks.
Continuing to this day, a flask of manna is extracted from the tomb of Saint Nicholas every year on December 6 (the saint's feast day).
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and is often called upon by sailors who are in danger of drowning or being shipwrecked.
According to some variations of the legend, Saint Nicholas' figure is also accompanied by an evil counterpart Knecht Ruprecht, who would threaten to beat, or sometimes actually eat the children for misbehavior.
Today, Saint Nicholas is still celebrated as a great gift-giver in several Western European countries.
In Christmas custom, stockings (instead of shoes or boots) are often filled with presents or coal on Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus, who brings the presents, is sometimes interchangeable with the figure Saint Nicholas.
After he died, people in the region continued to give to the poor anonymously, and such gifts were still often attributed to Saint Nicholas.
The history of the festive Saint Nicholas celebration is complex and reflects conflicts between Protestantism and Catholicism.
The destruction of several pagan temples is also attributed to Saint Nicholas, among them one temple of Artemis (also known as goddess Diana).
Some elements of this part of the Saint Nicholas tradition could be traced back to the Germanic god Wodan (Odin).
Saint Nicholas is then said to come and fill the boot with gifts, and at the same time check up on the children to see if they were good.
Other times Saint Nicholas is referred to as a special helper of Santa Claus.
Saint Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, not only saw through the butcher's horrific crime but also managed to resurrect the three boys from the barrel.
Saint Nicholas (Greek: ????????, Nikolaos, "victory of the people") was Bishop of Myra during the fourth century C.E., well known and revered for his charitable nature.
Due to the modern association with Christmas, Saint Nicholas is a patron saint of Christmas, as well as pawnbrokers.
The fame achieved by Roman Catholic saint, Nicholas of Myra (died 345 AD) has continued to grow since his imprisonment and subsequent death at the hands of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian. The much-loved figure that we associate with the Christmas holiday came to be known simply as "Santa Claus."
Born in Patara, a land that is part of present-day Turkey, circa 280, St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who helped the needy. After his death, the legend of his gift-giving grew. St. Nicholas transformed into the legendary character called Santa Claus, who brings Christmas presents to children around the world.Dec 7, 2017