Today is the feast of St. Nicholas, although this bearded gentleman also goes by the name of Santa Claus or Father Christmas and is known for his red fur trimmed cloak. Yesterday we were treated to a Mummers Play in one of the churches. The Father Christmas you see in the picture is dressed in green, said to be a sign of the returning spring and he is known as Old Father Christmas, still quite a jolly fellow! His companions were St. George, a Turkish Knight, The Doctor and Johnny Jack. The origins of these English plays go back in the mists of time but are said to be pagan. However, I don’t think there is any harm in seeing them being performed in church .
After the performance one of the Mummers read out an interesting fact that had been sent to them (via the Internet). Apparently there is a painting in water colour in existence that shows Mummers performing in the late 19th century in the very village where this church is. The picture was painted by the son of a former famous village resident, so its good to see traditions revived especially on a dark, rainy cold December afternoon.
St. Nicholas was Christian Bishop of Myra, a seaside town in what is now Western Turkey in the early fourth century A.D. There are many legends about this bishop which have been passed down over the centuries and have probably been embellished and expanded far beyond the actual facts, though they may contain some elements of truth. St. Nicholas was very kind to children and has become their Patron Saint.
When living in Germany I well remember this day especially seeing a Father Christmas on the street giving sweets to the children. St. Nicholas is well respected, in many European countries.
Interesting post. Love the green coat and the legend/pagan part...ReplyDelete
As far as I know - and it isn't much, I might add, Canada is mostly influenced by American custom: St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus originally from the Dutch version, Sint Klaas. The Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (New York) brought the tradition to America.
Fox : )
Interesting but having once been married to a 'mummer' Im not sure whether I'd ever want to see another play!!!!!ReplyDelete
This is fascinating! - to see Father Christmas in green!I am old enough to remember Father Christmas, as he always was, tall and thin and wearing a red fur-trimmed gown; it wasn't until the late 50's that he began to put on weight and to wear a suit instead!ReplyDelete
December 6th is the day that Russian children celebrate Christmas - the Epiphany. (My mother was Russian).
I just read about St. Nicholas on a previous blog a few minutes ago. Happy St. Nicholas Day!ReplyDelete
Your Christmas ornaments are lovely with the tatting on them! I really like the one you are using as your avator on your blogger profile!
Thanks for the comments about Father Christmas - he gets around doesn't he? Interesting that your mother was Russian Maureen.ReplyDelete
TattingChic the bauble on my blogger profile is my favourite, and the black cotton that Jane bought me this weekend is so I can make more! But I thought you liked pink!!!!
My mother was Russian, Sally - my father was British, born in India at the time of the Empire. So my own upbringing was colonial and eclectic, and my husband bemoans the fact that he has to deal with Russian intensity and good British reserve!ReplyDelete