Today I am happy to share with you a special painting I just finished-- it's St. Nicholas, in his more traditional form, with a group of little children outside a snowy village. I painted this piece as a gift to my church for the approaching St. Nicholas festival. Saint Nicholas Day is officially celebrated on Dec. 6, and you Tasha Tudor fans may remember that this is the day that the Tudor family (and the family in Becky's Christmas!) start celebrating the holiday season!
Saint Nicholas is one of my favorite saints-- he had lots of adventures, was kind, good to children and young women, made daring escapes, traveled extensively, and managed to not meet with a gruesome end as so many other saints do!
Probably the most well-known and well-loved stories of Saint Nicholas is the one where he learns of a very poor family with three daughters who cannot afford to pay their dowries. Because of this, the family believes the only thing to be done is to sell the daughters off as slaves. To stop this from happening, Saint Nicholas tosses a bag of gold for each girl into the house through their chimney. The girls had placed their stockings to dry at the hearth, and in the morning they found the gold for their dowries in their stockings, and were saved from slavery. Sounds vaguely familiar, right?
For families around the world who celebrate St. Nicholas day, the traditional way to celebrate is to leave shoes or stockings out at night, and in the morning they will find little treats such as fruits, nuts, little trinkets or pieces of chocolate (a popular candy this is given is little chocolate 'coins' wrapped in gold paper to represent the story of Saint Nicholas tossing the gold down the chimney.)
If you'd like to learn more about St. Nicholas and get ideas for fun celebrations to celebrate him or activities for kids, THIS is an awesome website.
I like Saint Nicholas Day because its a really fun and family-oriented way to kick off the holiday season, and starts it off on the right foot-- with honoring someone for their kindness and generosity to others. It's not an over-the-top celebration, but one filled with little treats and good stories, and is also the beginning of Advent. I'm really looking forward to the season, and hope you are too!
Hope you enjoy the painting! And have a great weekend!~
PS: I've just figured out how to reply to comments in the comment section! So now I will be able to reply back to you! Hurray!