The Feast of Saint Nicholas: A History

Bishop Nicholas, also known as Nikolaos of Myra, was renowned for his many deeds of selfless kindness and generosity toward the needy, the sick, the suffering, and the oppressed. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and children (to name a few).  Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD. December 6th became the day of The Feast of Saint Nicholas. 

The Feast Day of Saint Nicholas through the 16th century (and in some places, still today) was celebrated throughout the world, often as a religious celebration, focusing on the act of selfless, anonymous giving. December 6th was the recognized day of gift-giving until sometime late in the Protestant Reformation, when it was changed to December 25th. The Feast Day of Saint Nicholas, and the Christmas holiday, in general, was celebrated with lavish dinners, masques, singing, sports, and gambling. Homes and halls would be decorated in evergreens, holly, and ivy. 

More information regarding Saint Nicholas and the information surrounding the festival can be found at the links below.


Sources:
"Greece". St. Nicholas Center. Retrieved Novenber 16, 2016