St. Nicholas, patron saint of children
In Luxembourg and the neighboring francophone areas, children wait impatiently each year for the morning of December 6 : it is during the night before this feast day that St. Nicolas, accompanied by his old donkey loaded with toys and sweets and by Father Fouettard (Houséker) – a truly frightening character, dressed in rags and carrying a tattered sack full of whips – brings his presents to well-behaved children.
St. Nicholas is an historical personality who was born around 270 in Patara, a coastal town in present-day Turkey. He was the beneficiary of a rich inheritance and dedicated himself to helping the poor, the weak, and especially oppressed children.
Numerous legends have been attributed to the man who would later become bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. All these legends describe him as a man of unusual generosity who formed a strong bond to impoverished children. After his death on 6th December 345, his popularity continued to grow until, in the Middle Ages, Nicholas became the patron saint of children, travellers, sailors, merchants, fishermen, the poor, and apothecaries. His tomb can be found in Bari (Italy).
A portion of the remains of St. Nicholas, returned to Lorraine by a crusader, is still worshipped today in the basilica of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port, a small town situated on the Meurthe ( http://www.saintnicolasdeport.com). Could this be why the tradition of St. Nicholas is still so popular in our region ?
|Price of the stamp:||0,45 + 0,05 €|
|Design:||Pit Weyer, Luxembourg|
|Printing:||Multicolored photogravure by "The House Of Questa", Byfleet, Surrey (United Kingdom)|
|Format:||36 x 36 mm, 12 stamps per sheet, decorated borders|