6 Dec 2013

The feast of St. Nicholas - a children's festival



Today is the feast of St. Nicholas who was born in Patara, part of present-day Turkey, who became a Christian bishop and is believed to have died on the 6th December 343.  Stories of his work for the poor and legends about him spread far and wide and he became known as the protector of children and sailors and was associated with gift giving. In Holland he continues to be an important figure and the children put out their shoes the night before the 6th December in the hope that St Nicholas (Sint Nikolaas or Sinter Klaas) will leave gifts for them. In America Sinter Klaas became Santa Claus (the modern day Father Christmas).
Because St. Nicholas was such a popular saint in Europe until the Reformation in the 1500s many old churches and chapels are dedicated to him.


St. Nicholas' Church in High Bradfield is one of them. There was an Advent service there yesterday afternoon with an invitation to local women's groups as part of the patronal festivities, but since 87 m.p.h. gales were being recorded up there and being relayed to the local news programmes I decided not to go. Apparently High Bradfield felt the full force of the wind - the strongest gales in the area, which is not surprising being so high up and exposed to the elements. Thankfully, the weather has calmed down.



The chapel in Haddon Hall, Derbyshire has wall paintings including some in the chancel that illustrate incidents associated with the life of St. Nicholas - resurrecting three children and calming a storm at sea. St. Nicholas was associated from early times with the chapel.  The 'chapel of St. Nicholas' was mentioned in a marriage settlement of 1180.

Anyway, coming back to present-day festivities as we approach Christmas I've included a collage of the chocolate figures that our grandson no. 2 has been making ready for packaging for the chocolate shop, patisserie and cafe owned by a family friend in the south west of England and where a grandson no 3 sometimes works, although he has less time now that he's a trainee chef in a local hotel restaurant. In the bottom photo you can see some milk chocolate St. Nicholas figures, but I wonder how many shoppers will associate these with the popular Father Christmas? I've been told that a huge Father Christmas has been made which will be sold and the proceeds will go to a local charity.  
Below are some more of the chocolate work creations that are made on site and displayed in the patisserie shop window.




12 comments:

  1. What a lovely seasonal post, Linda. I have a soft spot for Saint Nicholas and the traditions associated with him. Those chocolate figures are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. that chocolate is much to good to even think of eating it... so beautiful, as is the church. this Saint Nicolas is what we should be having now instead of Santa Claus..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful church and interesting history. And those chocolate confections are works of art. Thanks for visiting Linda and leaving such a sweet comment. Really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just love hearing about the old churches, they are so fascinating and it's wonderful to get a peek inside. I love the carriage and horses, how very clever, you'd hate to spoil that by eating it.xxx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry that you missed your service today, but you probably made a good choice given the weather. Lovely to read your history and see your photos Linda. The chocolates are amazing, your grandson is very clever! xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a lovely post. When our children were at home, we always celebrated St. Nick's Day by reading stories of the real St. Nick and I would find those chocolate letters (Dutch) and give each of them the letter that was their first name initial. Sometimes I found those gold coin chocolates to give them too.

    I love seeing those chocolates in the patisserie shops. Wonderful!
    ~Jody

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your chocolates look so yummy. Wish I could reach right on the screen and grab one to eat.
    Heard you were having very bad weather. Saw a video last night on the news of a plane trying to land at one of your airports and after two attempts, went on to London to land. I'm sure you saw it too. Makes one not want to fly in the winter for sure.
    We're having a winter storm right now ourselves. Started with rain that turned to ice and is now snow. Lots and lots of snow - especially for this time of year. The storm covers 2000 miles and 19 states and it seems the more southern states got the worst of it with lots of ice. Anyways, enjoying this nice Friday evening just staying all cozy and warm inside and watching the snow outside. Have a nice weekend Linda.
    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've always enjoyed the story of St. Nicholas. The paintings in the chapel are intriguing. Your grandson must be very talented; the chocolate figures are so detailed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for sharing this history! Love the story of Saint Nicholas!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry to hear that you had to miss the service, the weather really has been terrible, hasn't it? Those chocolate figures are fantastic, you've got a very talented grandson.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a shame that awful weather stopped you going to the Advent service still it is better to be safe at home on days like that. I love the wall paintings in the the chapel at Haddon Hall, we visited just before Christmas last year and it was beautifully decorated. Those seasonal figures in chocolate are works of art, I wouldn't want to break them to eat them:)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such a lovely post and photos.

    ReplyDelete