Below are two cookie recipes: one in honor of St. Nick and the other Santa Claus. For those of you who have a healthy dose of curiosity as well as a sweet tooth, let’s explore how these two holiday figures came to be.
St. Nicholas was a bishop in southwestern Turkey in the 4th century. Born to a wealthy family, he gave much of his money away in support of the poor. As the bishop of Myra, he had a number of miracles attributed to him and was eventually declared a saint. His feast day was celebrated on December 6th. During St. Nicholas’ lifetime, Pope Julius I decided that Jesus should be given a day that could be celebrated in honor of his birth. Because the winter solstice was already being celebrated, the birthday for Jesus was designated to coincide, which eventually proved successful in “Christianizing” the previously pagan holiday. Over time St. Nicholas’ day and Jesus’ birthday became associated, and the Christmas tradition began. Because St. Nicholas was beneficent in his offerings to the poor, stuffed stockings and gifts became synonymous with this day. Continue reading