Aki-chan's Life

Bonus - St. Nicolas day
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It's St. Nicolas day! I mean, the day itself usually isn't all that interesting, it's all about the evening of the 5th where you'd leave something before your door and the morning when you find it full of sweets, nuts, chocolate (especially at least one chocolate Nick), maybe some small toy. The tradition usually calls for the "something" to put out for the Nikolaus to fill to be boots, but at least for my family, it was always just a plate, and I certainly didn't mind that. I mean, even if it were boots just for that occasion and not ones still sweaty and stinky from wearing it, it seems like a needless hassle to get everything out of them.
Of course that's not necessarily all to it, there are also Nikoläuse going around Christmas markets, festivities, I even remember one in Kindergarten, giving out presents, sometimes accompanied by his helper. He got plenty of them, depending on where you live; here (and I think most of Germany...?) that would be Knecht Ruprecht, who is usually the "bad cop" to be feared, because he gives the naughty kids the birch(...? That seemed the best translation for "Rute" - basically a bundle of sticks), where it's open to interpretation whether they get it instead of presents or actually beaten with it (of course, no child is found to be that naughty to actually get it either way).
This kinda also brings us to "how on earth didn't this confuse me way more as a kid?": When I was young, the Santa-fied fluffy red suit look was already quite prevalent to the point that it seemed more odd to me when I'd see one with the traditional Bishop-y look. It also didn't help that, for example, some older movies would translate Santa as Nikolaus and media in general pushing in that direction (not entirely fitting this, but I guess something that would be relatively well known: The Simpson's dog is actually called "Knecht Ruprecht" in the German dub). I mean, that isn't too surprising, with Santa Claus being based on the dutch version of him and all that, and you can even see the similar traditions with him bringing presents over night, judging naughty and nice, etc. But the catch is, Santa was also sorta re-imported as "Weihnachtsmann" (huh, never realized: "Christmas Man" - sounds like a super hero :P), being pretty much the same as the US counterpart (minus the "bringing presents during the night", but we'll get to that). But somehow, I don't recall ever really confusing the two for the other nor thinking they were the same guy coming twice (even though, in some way, they are). It was always two guys looking pretty much the same, doing pretty much the same, just on different dates, and that was the most normal thing in the world. ^_^

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