Who is the character of Saint-Nicolas?


For children of the French provinces of the Alsace, Lorraine and the Flanders, Saint-Nicolas is the character who distributes presents on the 6th December. He is the Patron Saint of Lorraine whose people organise large-scale parades in their towns early December.

In the North-East of France, Saint-Nicolas is often portrayed as a tall thin man with a long white beard, all dressed up in silk garments, carrying a bishop’s mitre and holding a crosier. Saint-Nicolas is traditionally accompanied by a grey donkey carrying baskets filled with biscuits, sweets and gifts.

When the Dutch migrated to the United States in the 19th century, they took with them the traditions of St. Nicolas (aka Sinterklaas) which gradually evolved into Santa Claus, a moralist character whose duty was to reward good children and punish the bad ones.

To find out more about the character of St. Nicolas, here is a list of a few posts published on the blog:

  • Our pages on SAINT-NICOLAS

  • Read more about St. Nicolas in French on Mon-Grand-Est, my blog dedicated on Eastern France.


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    About Author

    Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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