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Ukrainians Celebrate St. Nicholas' Day Today

19. December 2012 by Masha 0 Comments

Traditionally, December 19th is recognized as St. Nicholas' Day in Ukraine, a holy and joyous celebration that includes poetry, singing, and gift giving. Children hasten St. Nicholas' arrival by singing the "St. Nicholas' Song," getting louder and more enthusiastic until he appears.

 

Children who, who love Dear St. Nicholas

Children who, who obey St. Nicholas

They're the ones that won't be missed,

And their wishes will be blessed

By St. Nicholas.

Look upon our happy, smiling faces,

Come delight us with your blissful graces.

Don't forget to bring some treats,

Presents, peanuts and some sweets,

Dear St. Nicholas.

 

Today many Ukrainian churches have St. Nicholas celebrations to help children understand that the holy man Nicholas came long before Santa Claus. Volunteers have prepared gifts for thousands of less fortunate children and government officials are visiting orphanages.

 

 

St. Nicholas history in Ukraine goes back to the 10th and 11th centuries. In churches, his icons are prominently placed on the iconostas, usually next to Jesus, the Mother of God, or the patron saint of the church. His icons were found also in nearly every home.

 

In the mountains of western Ukraine, where the Hutzels named the four seasons of the year after saints, winter honors St. Nicholas.

 

Ukrainian folk tradition recognizes two Saint Nicholas figures: "cold Nicholas" and "warm Nicholas." Cold Nicholas, the familiar winter saint, is believed to bring the first snow by shaking his beard. As the patron saint of spinning, yarns and thread were brought to church to "add to his beard."

 

Celebrated in the spring, warm Nicholas, patron saint of farming, is said to walk the land to dry overly wet areas and dampen the dry. In port areas, Nicholas is celebrated as patron saint of the seas. Cossacks, like the Greeks, take St. Nicholas icons when sailing the treacherous Black Sea.

 

Source, Photos: St. Nicholas Center