Falling during the liturgical season of Advent, the feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated on December 6 every year. Catholics all over the world celebrate this special feast day. St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived during the fourth century in a place called Myra in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey.) His wealthy parents died when he was young and left him a large sum of money. St. Nicholas was a very kind man with a generous heart. He had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people who needed it.
It is said that there were three poor girls who were sisters and they were unable to marry because they had no dowry (A dowry is a sum of money paid to the bridegroom by the brides parents on the wedding day.) One night St. Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of coins down the chimney for the oldest girl. It was enough money to pay her dowry to get married. St. Nicholas subsequently did this for each of the other two sisters. The coins landed each time in stockings that were hung by the fireplace to dry. From this inspirational story the tradition of leaving shoes out the eve before the feast of St. Nicholas was born.
Due to their symbolism, St. Nicholas usually leaves chocolate coins in their shoes (which can be purchased at most stores during this time of year.) In addition to the coins, a small gift and a holy card for each child is also often found in their shoes.
How do you celebrate this feast in your home? What does St. Nicholas leave in your shoes? Please share!