Happy St. Nicholas‘ Day!! Oh how I love this tradition! Here in Germany, thousands of children
(and just as many adults ) can’t wait to see what’s inside their shoes or boots on the morning of
December 6th every year. Wait… to see what’s inside their shoes…? Yes
Traditionally German kids clean their biggest pair of boots they can find (cause the bigger the boots
the more presents they hold, obviously) and put them next the front door of the house or the
appartment they live in. Many put a bowl of water and a piece of bread next tot he shoes, too.
Now it’s getting weird, you think? No, it makes sense! The night before 6th of December St. Nicholas,
a childrens‘ patron, walks through the country with his mule and his hleper, Knecht Ruprecht. They
bring little presents, mostly candy, nuts and fruits, sometimes little things like books etc. and put
them in the childrens‘ shoes or boots, if the children have been nice throughout the year. If they
haven’t, they will only get a little wooden stick or branch. I was always scared to get one of those but
it never happened to me 😉 Actually I’ve never heard of any child that really got one. So usually the
children wake up in the morning and find their boots filled with goodies! What a joy!
But… what’s the bowl of water and the bread for? Well, the poor mule has to walk all the way across
the country all night with all the presents on his back. Wouldn’t it be cruel not to feed him from time
to time? When I was little, the mule always made a huge mess, he spilled the water all over the
place and left crumbs of bread everywhere. I loved it 🙂
Who else knows this tradition? Tell me about it in the comments!