Saint Nicholas Day

December 5, 2011 by staff 

Saint Nicholas Day, Saint Nicholas, the origin of Santa Claus or Father Christmas in Catholic tradition, is remembered Tuesday as the Church marks his feast day.

In many European nations, as well as in Canada and the United States, gift-giving traditions will be observed, patterned after the generous and thoughtful nature of Santa Claus. In the Philippines, gift-giving before Christmas Day has, over the years, become a norm as well.

Honored for many ages, St. Nicholas is one of few Catholic saints who had become a key figure of Christmas. As the generous gift-giver, children eagerly await his arrival at midnight on Christmas Eve every year. The Catholic Church also considers him as an Advent saint since his feast day falls during the Advent season.

Venerated as the patron of children, sailors, bakers, pawnbrokers, and voyagers, St. Nicholas draws hundreds of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists to shrine at the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy, on his feast day every year.

Many also gather at numerous churches dedicated to his memory in many parts of the world. The number of altars and churches are testimonials to his popularity and holiness.

“As a faithful follower of Christ, St. Nicholas’ life clearly reflected the way each one of us is called to show God’s love for others, especially to those in need. St. Nicholas helps us remember Christmas is a feast of love, hope, kindness, and generosity,” Church officials said.

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