Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Istanbul, Turkey 2013
Saint Nicholas (270-343 AD) was born in present day Patara, Turkey (then a Greek city on Turkey's southern coast). Born into a wealthy family, he was known for secret gift-giving, often placing coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him; Saint Nicholas was thus the model for Santa Claus.
A poor fourth-century man had three daughters without dowries, meaning they could not attract husbands and were destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home, providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window by bishop Nicholas, are said to have landed in stockings left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings on a mantel, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.
Modern day Turks adopt "Santa" as their own, but associate him with New Years, not Christmas. If you're fortunate enough to visit Turkey at this time of year, you'll find street vendors eager to sell you an inexpensive Santa doll, a great souvenir of a great nation. BTW: Turkey is the only Muslim country where it is not against the law to practice homosexuality.
Even Buster gets excited when I tell him about the Saint Nicholas gift-giving tradition:
As for me, all I want for Christmas is something hot and wet, example below:
Check back for tan lines tomorrow. Peace and love to the child in us all.