Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Night Before Christmas - Cosimo's Classic of December


It's December again, the season of thanking, giving and celebrations - a season which wouldn't be complete without a Visit from St. Nicholas!

The Night Before Christmas, originally published as A Visit from St. Nicholas on December 23, 1823, in the Troy Sentinel, became America's favorite Christmas poem. After the poem was published anonymously, it was attributed to Clement Clark Moore in 1837. However, scholars have debated the identity of the author of this poem and some believe it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr., (1748-1828), a New York farmer who also wrote poetry.

The Night Before Christmas has had a great influence on the American notion of Santa.... 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

St. Nicholas - the Link between Dutch Folklore and Santa Claus

This coming Saturday evening, December 5, the Dutch will celebrate their feast of Sint Nicolaas, with poems, marzipan, ginger biscuits and hot chocolate, and with presents for the children.

The history of Saint Nicholas is a colorful and storied one: he lived from 270 to December 6, 343 AD, was the Greek Bishop of Myra - located in modern day Turkey - and he was a Christian saint known for his miracles and secret gift-giving. Saint Nicholas attended the First Council of Nicaea, which was the first effort to attain consensus in the Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. Later on Saint Nicholas became an important figure for Italians and Greeks, honored in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church. Throughout Europe he is celebrated for his generosity, especially towards children.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas became a figure of folklore, who would visit the Netherlands every November traveling by steamboat from Spain, riding a white horse and joined by....