Sankt Niklaus Tag (Saint Nicholas Day)

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In Northern Germany, for Saint Nicholas Day (Sankt Niklaus Tag) children put a Saint Nicholas boot (a Niklaus – Stiefel) outside their door on the evening of December 5.  Saint Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they have been good, polite and helpful throughout the year.  If they have not been good, they get a lump of coal or a stick (called a Rute).  As traditional lore goes, Saint Nicholas’s assistant, Knecht Ruprecht, may use this stick to encourage the children to behave.  The children then have a few weeks to improve their behavior, to guarantee that they will get gifts from Santa Claus at Christmas.

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As we head into December, Americans are getting ready for the upcoming holidays by putting up lights, mailing Christmas cards, and above all, shopping.  In Europe, families are warming up for Christmas by celebrating Saint Nicholas Day.  Observed on December 6, it is the feast of Saint Nicholas (a bringer of gifts) and celebrated as a festival.


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Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated all over Europe including Central Europe and Eastern Christian countries such as Romania and Greece.  In US cities with large German communities, people celebrate this day by putting a shoe outside their bedroom, or by hanging an empty stocking by the fireplace on the evening of December 5, similar to the traditions and rituals of Christmas in America.

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Here at Milhench Supply Company, we like family traditions, especially German traditions during the holidays.  For three generations we pride ourselves on being a family managed business that treats its customers, vendors, and community like family.

Milhench Supply provides janitorial supplies to customers in greater New Bedford, Providence, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Boston and the suburbs north of Boston. Please contact us to discuss your janitorial and facility maintenance needs.

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And if you need a Niklaus – Stiefel for the evening of December 5, keep us in mind, we sell boots!