St. Nicholas Day
"Nicholas, I beg of you,
Drop something into my shoe,
Something sweet or something sweeter.
Thank you, Saint and thank you, Peter!
Put your long red mantle on,
St. Nicholas, good and holy man,
Drive your sleigh from Amsterdam
And find us quickly if you can."
~ Traditional Dutch
Today is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, also known variously as Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Santa Claus and many other names, all of which owe their folkloric origins to this early 4th century Christian Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas. Traditionally, Sinterklaas wears a long red cape or chasuble over a traditional white bishop's alb and sometimes red stola, dons a red mitre and ruby ring, and holds a gold-coloured crosier, a long ceremonial shepherd's staff with a fancy curled top. Sinterklaas carries a big, red book in which is written whether each child has been good or naughty in the past year.
For St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, we have the tartan "Claus of the North Pole."
Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343) also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as "Nikolaos the Wonderworker."
St. Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice now celebrated on his feast day. It is St. Nicholas who became the model for Santa Claus, from the Dutch Sinterklaas, a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos".
St. Nicholas' most famous exploit involves a poor man with three daughters who could not afford a proper dowry for them. The father feared they would remain unmarried and in absence of any other possible employment, would descend into deep disgrace. Hearing of the girls' plight, Nicholas desired to aid them, but being too modest to help the family in public (and to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.
This tartan was designed for the Clan Claus Society, a benevolent service organization, dedicated to bringing Christmas cheer in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend.
Colours: red is the traditional colour for Santa Claus; green is for the evergreen holly and mistletoe which represent Christmas traditions; the three bands of yellow represent the three bags of gold that St Nicholas of Myra gave the three daughters of the merchant; the two bands of white are for purity and the snow of the North Pole.
Click the picture of St. Nicholas for more on the folklore and interesting legends associated with St. Nicholas.