Friday, December 05, 2008

Saint not affected by Recession

Today is an early day home and time to spend with the family as in Holland we celebrate the birthday of Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas as we call him.

Saint Nicholas (270 - December 6, 346) is the common name for Nicholas of Myra, a Lycian saint and Bishop of Myra in Lycia of Anatolia (modern-day Antalya province, Turkey, though at the time it was a Greek-speaking Roman Province). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercessions, he is also known as Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and is now commonly identified with Santa Claus. Nicholas was never officially canonised; his reputation simply evolved among the faithful, as was the custom in his time. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari in southern Italy. For this reason, he is also known as Saint Nicholas of Bari. [wikipedia]

Santa Claus is primarily an American commercial concoction, which has nothing to do with Christmas and in the Netherlands we still prefer Sinterklaas as gift-machine over Santa Claus, which is quite fortunate as we have a half month headstart to predict how hard the credit crunch and recession really kicks in.

Well, rest assured ye merry gentlemen, nothing is wrong with the world. Sinterklaas sales have reached a record high again this year and prospects for Christmas sales are good too. Well, not entirely true, but the Saint doesn't seem touched by the turmoil of the credit crunch and recession.

For a little more background on Saint Nicholas, and how he became Santa and got screwed by Coca-Cola, check out the St. Nicholas Center website.

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