Feast of St. Nicholas

День матери

Ukraine celebrates the Feast of St. Nicholas - the patron saint of children and travelers - on the night of 18 to 19 December. Of a succession of St. Nicholas can be considered the most revered and well known - he is honored the Orthodox and the Catholic Church. It is believed that the first temple of a saint appeared in Kievan Rus about XIX century - on the grave of the former Prince Askold.

St. Nicholas is famous, because he is match with the image of Santa Claus (“Grandfather Frost” in Slavic countries) - the pagan winter frosts incarnation of the Slavs (particularly were honored with the Eastern Slavs - present Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians), and in the future (during the Soviet period) gained his fairy character of a “grandpa” giving gifts to children on New Year. Although Soviet Santa Claus bless children in the New Year, putting presents under the tree, St. Nicholas comes to their houses before the Christmas holidays: the Orthodox - on the night of 18 to 19 December, the Catholics - on the night of 5 to 6 December. Gifts that St. Nicholas brings the children, they call in Ukraine "mikolajczyk," and he puts them usually under the pillow. But in the West it is generally believed that the holy places them in the socks hanging from the fireplace or in the clothing, which was exhibited at the door. Here and there, believe that Nicholas comes to visit along with two angels and two devils who whisper to him about the child's behavior. Obedient kids get the gifts, naughty - stones and twigs!

At the root of the holiday is the history of a man, who lived in III-IV centuries. He was called Nicholas and he was famous as a great servant of God. While a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, at the request of Nicholas its travelers prayer calmed the stormy sea. He also kept the sword of the executioner than saved from execution three men convicted innocent by a greedy mayor. He committed in his faith many other good things, for which he was honored by Christians and pagans. Nicholas died at a great age (his relics are in Bari, Italy), but the parishioners believe that he still helps all who turn to him in prayer.
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