Thursday, December 6, 2007
Patron Saint of Pawnbrokers
Happy Saint Nicholas Day! We haven't always celebrated this day. We just started about 3 or 4 years ago after I found this wooden clog at a garage sale. The nicest part is the boys never remember about it and are always surprised to see it on our table. I don't know how long we'll continue but it's fun for now. A couple little gifts- some candy. I've been busy cleaning and decorating- hopefully I'll post some pics later.
From Wikipedia-In his most famous exploit however, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment would have to become prostitutes. Hearing of the poor man's plight, Nicholas decided to help him but being too modest (or too shy) to help the man in public, (or knowing the man too proud to accept charity), he went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses filled with gold coins through the window opening onto the man's floor. One version has him throwing one purse for three consecutive nights. Another has him throw the purses over a period of three years, each time the night before one of the daughters comes "of age". Invariably the third time the father lies in waiting, trying to discover their benefactor. In one version the father confronts the saint, only to have Saint Nicholas say it is not him he should thank, but God alone. In another version, Nicholas learns of the poor man's plan and drops the third bag down the chimney instead; a variant holds that the daughter had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into the stocking. For his help to the poor, Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers; the three gold balls traditionally hung outside a pawnshop symbolize the three sacks of gold. People then began to suspect that he was behind a large number of other anonymous gifts to the poor, using the inheritance from his wealthy parents. After he died, people in the region continued to give to the poor anonymously, and such gifts were still often attributed to St. Nicholas.