December 6, 2009

St. Nikolaus Day

My German teacher explained that today is St. Nikolaus day here. St. Nikolaus however is not the same as Santa Claus, although they look similar with their red clothes and white beards. St. Nikolaus is a religious figure and has on a bishop's hat, carries a curled staff and has a golden book that lists the good and naughty children.
Here he is in the doll version
(thanks to Gertrud K. on Flickr)

The children leave out their shoes and if they're good, they'll receive sweets, lebkuchen cookies, nuts, and mandarins. If they've been bad in the last year, then Krampus--St. Nikolaus's filthy, branch-wielding sidekick--will stick branches in their shoes and in the past, used to beat them.

Here he is next to the Santas.
(Thanks to Denni Schnapp from Flickr)

The only one in our household that has to worry about Krampus is Scoots. I've warned him that if he walks me up at 5 am again, I'm going to call Krampus over to straighten him out. And it won't matter that St. Nikolaus day is over because I'm sure he'll make a special exception for a certain grey-haired cat.

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