Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Here in Austria it is St. Nicholas Day.  He arrived in the downtown square on a horse drawn wagon and handed out candies to all the kids.  I noticed that the sleeves on his shirt look like hand-crochet trim...

See the Christkindle Market behind him?  We steered clear of there because the crush of people is unbelievable on a weekend night.  Interestingly enough, Austria shops stand firm on being closed on Sundays so all of the shops were closed today - just the Christkindle Market was open - and still downtown was packed!
In years past, St. Nicholas has been accompanied with his side-kick Krampus - he looks like a demon.  I don't know why he wasn't there this year.  Usually the kids get matching chocolates of St. Nicholas AND Krampus because they are a pair.  Also - the bakeries make special breads to look like Krampus.

There is also a little "train" that goes through town.  It is about a 15 minute ride and cost 1 Euro.  A great way to see some of the decorations and shop windows!  The line is brutal though - you have never seen people push and shove so much - it was as hard to get OUT as it was to get in the train.  The earlier you are the better off you are.  We were fairly early - it gets worse as the night goes on.

My son was thrilled to see this amthyst - it is the largest one discovered and is over 2 million years old.  It was found in 1980 between Brazil and Hondurus.

And when we got home - look, St. Nicholas had paid our home a visit as well.  He brought the traditional gifts of oranges, dates, peanuts and chocolates and candies.  Yum.  There might even be a few coins in the bottom of that dish somewhere...  in anycase, my son was sooo excited to see this sitting out when we came home.  I just looked at the photo and realized that it doesn't look like alot of clementines, but there is an entire bag in that bowl!  Funny.

All in all, a fun time.  We were only gone for 2 1/2 hours, but outside in the cold - that was plenty! 


Brenda said...

that sounds like a great time!! I didn't know about 'Krampus'.
Thanks for the lesson!! And the train ride does sound like it would be fun. I am glad you got home before you really got cold!!

Lindah said...

Thank you for sharing some of the sights and customs of St Nicholas Day. Very interesting. Beautiful lights. I enlarged the photo of St. Nicholas and I believe you are right about the crochet work on his sleeve. Interesting.
Stay warm!