Posted tagged ‘St. Nicholas’

St. Nicholas

December 22, 2008

I collect vintage post cards and have quite a few of Santa Claus and many more of St. Nicholas. It is fascinating to see how he was depicted 100 or more years ago. The European cards are my favorites. As on the Dutch card here, he is often depicted in his role as a bishop. In many cards he is not;  he is dressed much more humbly; often in brown robes. Amusingly, instead of coal he is usually depicted carrying switches for bad children, as well as presents for good ones– but not when he is portrayed as a bishop.

In almost all the cards I have, St. Nicholas is also pictured as carrying a tree with him and he is usually on foot.  When he does have help, it is a simple sled drawn by one or two donkeys or reindeer.  In the next example we have a brown robed St. Nick carrying toys and switches:

brown-santa

St.Nicholas in brown.The card is postmarked 1907.

 To my surprise, I have discovered a serious website devoted to all things St. Nicholas: the St. Nicholas Center. This site is simply amazing. It tells the story of the real bishop and  has an extensive history of his celebration the world over from Aruba to Palestine to Turkey. There are pictures, e-cards and even a screen saver to be found at the site along with activities for children and a list of events centered on St. Nicholas around the world.

 I must say that I was amazed to find how rich a history is associated with him and how widely this saint is celebrated. The St. Nicholas Center is a treasure and well worth exploring.

purple-santa
Purple robed St. Nicholas with one reindeer. The card is postmarked 1910.

Below is a card on which we see St. Nicholas carrying a tree as well as a large bag of gifts with him.

 

st-nick21

Brown robed St. Nicholas on a card postmarked 1908.