The commemorative day dedicated to Saint Nicholas has given rise to a variety of folk customs over the centuries

The legendary Saint Nicholas is traced back to the Bishop of Myra, who lived between the third and fourth centuries in the southwest of Asia Minor in what is now Turkey. The year of his birth and death varies greatly, but it is certain that he died on 6 December. He is one of the best-known saints in all of Christendom. The day of commemoration on December 6 th has given rise to a variety of folk customs over the centuries.

Generosity and helpfulness

His good-natured, helpful work has in any case contributed to numerous legends. However, not all of the miraculous stories are said to be based solely on his life as Bishop of Myra, but also on that of an abbot of the same name in a monastery who died in 564.
In any case, Saint Nicholas in the veneration of saints is regarded as an exemplary good man who was generous and took care of poor people, but especially children. For example, he is said to have helped the needy with his inherited fortune.

Only clean boots are given small gifts!

Today, St. Nicholas’ Eve and the following St. Nicholas’ Day are usually associated with the so-called “Einlegebrauch” (gift insert tradition): Neatly cleaned boots or other larger shoes are secretly filled at night with sweets, fruit or small gifts. This custom apparently goes back to a legend of three young women whom St. Nicholas helped out of an awkward situation by secretly giving them money at night so that they could pay their dowry and marry in keeping with their status.
Saint Nicholas is also considered the patron saint of seafarers because of a miracle story about a rescue from distress at sea. That is why in the 15th century people liked to make ships in which he could place his gifts – later these “St. Nicholas ships” were replaced by boots, shoes, stockings or gift plates.

The tradition of St. Nicholas coming in person

In some regions St. Nicholas does not bring his gifts secretly, but visits the children in person: They are then asked whether they have been good in the past year… To check the answer, they look into a golden book. Good children are then rewarded with sweets from the sack they carry.
Sometimes St. Nicholas is accompanied by a sinister companion, known as “Knecht Ruprecht”, “Hans Muff” or “Krampus”. As a threatening and punishing counter-role to the benevolent St. Nicholas, he carries a rod with him.

Not only for St. Nicholas’ Eve: POLOLO’s boots need to be cared for properly

For the cold season, POLOLO’s boots are faithful and warm companions for children.
Of course, they should always be well cared for – and not just for St. Nicholas: We provide a few basic tips for this. We also have some suitable care products on offer in the POLOLO webshop.

Other special events on 6 December (selection):

  • Volume 1 of the first edition of the “Encyclopædia Britannica” is published in 1768.
  • In 1877, the US daily newspaper “The Washington Post” is published for the first time.
  • The French physician Charles Richet vaccinates a human being for the first time in 1890.
  • Josef & Emil Berliner found the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft in 1898.
  • In 1912, the German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt discovers the approx. 3,000-year-old bust of Nefertiti during his excavations.
  • In Florida, the Everglades National Park is founded in 1947.
Photo: Be well prepared for St. Nicholas Day with clean POLOLO "Toledo" wool boots!