Rescuing St. Nicholas!

In Switzerland

St. Nicholas gives chocolate, nuts and fruit to children, while also giving sage advice. However, he is getting confused with Father Christmas (Santa Claus) who fills stockings and brings gifts on Christmas Day. The two figures are getting confused, so in 2011 the Roman Catholic Church in Canton Aargau held the first ever "Samichlaus Synod" in Wislikofen.

The synod was so popular that all 90 places filled, with 40 more being turned away. Samichlaus is still well understood and observed in the countryside. The tradition is not so much alive in the cities and the church is working to get the message across.

Sessions included how to make a kindergarten visit, dealing with difficult children, and how to tell the traditional St. Nicholas story.

Samichlaus Synod
St. Nicholases, in costume, at the synod


  • "Keeping up the St Nicholas tradition,", December 6, 2011.

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