In December it is already winter in Switzerland. Snow falls softly over picturesque villages. The landscape is covered in white and the magical atmosphere created gives people a unique emotion.
It is the evening of December 5th. The family is at home, sitting in front of the warm, glowing fireplace. The children are listening to their mother who is telling them a Christmas carol, the story of “San Nicolao della Flüe”.
-“Saint Nicholas is considered the patron saint of children. As you know, tomorrow, December 6th, is his day. When you’re playing and studying in class, he will come to visit you. You’ll immediately recognize him because he is rather an old man, dressed in red and white with a hood, a stick and a long, long beard almost reaching his feet! His companions will be with him; his helper “Schmutzli” will be dressed in brown and also has a very long beard. His other helpers will be dressed in black and carrying lanterns and torches. Saint Nicholas will also be accompanied by his inseparable donkey!”
“When he arrives” –the mother goes on-, “you’ll have to sing songs and recite poems to make him feel welcome. Then, looking at his big brown book, he’ll know which of you have been good during last year, and which of you haven’t. Those who’ve been good will get a bag filled with presents like tangerines, walnuts and treats. And those who haven’t been so good will get… a scolding!”
Gaia Rossatti, 20.11.2014