They are banning Saint Nicholas from kindergartens in Vienna this year. Can you believe it? Jolly old Saint Nicholas is being given the boot?!
St. Nick, nein! A ban on St. Nicholas at Vienna’s kindergartens is taking some of the ho-ho-ho out of the holidays for tens of thousands of tots this year.
And it’s creating a political ruckus, with opposition parties accusing City Hall of kowtowing to a growing Muslim population by showing Europe’s Santa the kindergarten door.
Municipal officials insist their decision is prompted more by psychology than political correctness.
Instead of joy, the sight of a strange bearded figure at the door evokes fear in most kids, they argue. And they point out that the policy on St. Nicholas is more than a decade old — though they concede it is being enforced more rigorously than in the past.
There are limits to Muslim appeasement, folks. No pork, no art, no music (oops — music is allowed, you’re just not permitted to listen to it), no joy — unless self-flagellation has some amusement I’ve missed.
How dare they! How dare the joyless pedants and the sensitive Muslims complain about a character who has evolved over the centuries to provide Christmas memories for millions of children and their parents?
What right do Muslims and ignorant educators — both of whom know less about cultural history and Western traditions than any other two groups — have to set the rules for what will be celebrated? Right there you have it: supremely sensitive Muslim immigrants in Europe and state-funded EU “educators” are the perfect bah-humbug storm of witless ignorance. Scrooge would’ve loved these guys.
Killjoy edicts such as these are enough to try the patience of a saint, even one as generous as Santa Claus.
Do you know where jolly old St. Nick originated? In the cradle of Hellenistic Christianity, about three hundred years before Mohammed took his first breath. He was the bishop of Myra, a Christian city that fell to Islam’s marauders several times. Initially, the city was associated with St. Paul’s proselytizing of the Hellenes. However, with the conversion of Nicholas several centuries later, Christian tradition came to view Myra as Saint Nicholas’ domain. In the fifth century, a cathedral was built in his honor and his remains were buried there.
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In the eleventh century, during one of several Turkish invasions Italian sailors took advantage of the turmoil to steal Nicholas’ remains. They brought them to Bari, Italy, where they remain in a basilica to this day. And thus, St. Nicholas of Myra morphed into Nicholas of Bari.
Among many other attributions, Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, thus their thievery. In a way, their removal of the relics may have been fortuitous, given that Myra is now part of Turkey and we know what happens to Christians in Turkey, even dead ones.
A little background: Saint Nicholas was from a wealthy family and was known for his generosity. The most famous story about him during his life — a story which has several variations — is his secret gift of three bags of gold to a penurious father who could never have married off his three daughters without the Bishop’s generosity. In one story, he throws the bags of money through the man’s window at night. In another, he drops them down the chimney.
And of such stories are traditions born. The giving of gifts, generosity for its own sake (he made many anonymous gifts through his life), life viewed as abundance to be shared — all of these characteristics of Saint Nicholas gradually accreted over the centuries onto a mythical figure who came on December 6th to give presents to children. Much later another figure, Black Peter — depicted as his servant — was added to the story. Zwarte Piet serves many functions, depending on the country using the tradition. In the US, he has evolved into the Elves, Santa’s helpers.
Saint Nicholas is not going away. The ignorant schools, eschewing history for some revisionist version that better suits their agenda, cannot erase a tradition no matter how much the Muslims whinge about it, and no matter how hard the “Europeans” try to erase every iota of their Christian history and culture.
Draw this bright line in the sand: Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, etc., is not going anywhere except down the chimney.
Jolly old St. Nicholas, Lean your ear this way!
Don’t you tell a single soul, What I’m going to say;
Christmas Eve is coming soon; Now, you dear old man,
Whisper what you’ll bring to me: Tell me if you can.
When the clock is striking twelve, When I’m fast asleep,
Down the chimney broad and black, With your pack you’ll creep;
All the stockings you will find Hanging in a row;
Mine will be the shortest one, You’ll be sure to know.
Johnny wants a pair of skates, Susy wants a dolly;
Neddie wants a story book; he thinks dolls are folly;
As for me, my little brain isn’t very bright;
Choose for me, old Santa Claus, what you think is right.