St. Nikolaus Comes to St. Nikola an der Donau
St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, is a special day in the village of St. Nikola an der Donau, along the River Danube. Following a solemn service in the church, a long procession goes down to banks of the Danube. All the school children join in—as they have for more than thirty years.
Many boats and ships are in the river, waiting. All at once, their horns and sirens sound.
Here comes a boat, bringing St. Nikolaus.
The children wait patiently while St. Nikolaus disembarks to be greeted with welcoming speeches.
At last, he opens a large bag full of presents and sweets for all the children.
Parents then claim their children and take them to warm up on the boats, or visit the market and special exhibits in the school. They return home in the late afternoon, to wait again St. Nikolaus' evening visit to their homes.
At the end of an exciting day, if the little ones are not too tired, this is suggested as a prayer of thanks:
O Saint of love,
be a guide for us
in our lives, we pray,
that we may
create joy for each other,
as you have done for so many.
The St. Nikola an der Donau post office issues a a special St. Nikolaus postmark nearly every year. The custom began in 1981, when an Austrian stamp featuring the town's coat of arms was released.
To see these, look at the postmarks in the Gallery, found under Postal Items
From St. Nikola an der Donau, Austria