St. Nicholas of Bari

'Saint_Nicholas_of_Bari',_painting_by_Gherardo_di_Jacopo_Starna,_c._1422,_El_Paso_Museum_of_ArtEmanuela wrote from Italy about St. Nicholas of Bari…

"We celebrate St. Nicholas of Bari on December 6th. Our St. Nicholas is the Nicholas who is celebrated in northern Europe. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey), but now his body is in Bari, Italy.

European immigrants brought this character to America. Someone dressed St. Nicholas in a cap, boots and fur. This St. Nicholas became Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

Here, for some years, some children receive gifts for Christmas from St. Nicholas, from Father Christmas, baby Jesus and the Epiphany (La Befana)… It’s too many gifts, and the kids do not appreciate them.

A fun point is that a female donkey helps St. Nicholas bring gifts.  The donkey’s name is either Gigia or Giovanna.  After leaving gifts, St. Nicholas eats a tangerine, two peanuts and half a glass of red wine that have been left out for him."

You can learn an Italian rhyme about this holiday called San Nicolò de Bari on our Italy pages.

Thanks for sharing Emanuela!


-Mama Lisa

Image: St. Nicholas of Bari by Gherardo Starnina (c. 1360–1413) of Florence, Italy.

This article was posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2013 at 12:20 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Italian Nursery Rhymes, Italy, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, St. Nicholas Day, St. Nicolas Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “St. Nicholas of Bari”

  1. Emanuela Marsura Says:

    Children prepare for the donkey a carrot and a bit of hay. For the naughty children S. Nicholas brings coal black, but sweet to eat.
    Buon Natale a tutti!

  2. Lisa Says:

    Grazie Emanuela! Buon Natale!

Leave a Reply