What a cultural change moving from Wisconsin to Minnesota! One would think since the states our neighbors, that they have a lot in common, but the heritages are very different. I grew up in Southeastern Wisconsin an area a large amount of German immigrants found attractive. Many of my friends and relatives celebrate St. Nick which is on the night of Dec. 5th he comes and fills your stockings with oranges, apples, peanuts, chocolate and little presents. Today, my Facebook page BLEW UP with friends back home describing how St. Nick went for them and their families. My friends in Minnesota are silent, today is just another day to them, and they're all turning their heads wondering what is up with this peculiar holiday.
Minnesota has a large Scandinavian population. So, color me surprised when I found out that next to no one here knows what St. Nick Day is all about and why we celebrate it. It was off to the trusty computer for research in order to gain knowledge on exactly what this day means.
Low and behold! I find out that it is actually a precursor to Santa Claus! In our house the two holidays and gift giving old men were very separate. I think it was my mum's Catholic roots and German influence that kept the holidays separte. St. Nick was just that a saint. He was Turkish and lived from 280-343. He went around putting coins in people's shoes when they weren't looking (hence treats in stockings). December 6th is known as St. Nicolas Day and so even though mainstream has combined the holidays, we keep it separate in our home, and we can explain the tradition to our Viking neighbors.