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Religion Bulletin: Saint Nicholas sparks legend of Santa Claus

Herald Democrat

RELIGIOUS EVENTS IN HISTORY

Saint Nicholas of Myra, who inspired the legend of Santa Claus, dies on Dec. 6, 345 (traditional date).

On Dec. 6, 345 (traditional date), that saint who inspired the legend of Santa Claus dies in the maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor. Born in 270, Saint Nicholas of Myra was a fourth-century Greek Christian bishop who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Although little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas, he is said to have performed numerous miracles. Saint Nicholas’ most famous incident from his life is the rescuing of three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them. Other stories tell of him calming a storm at sea, saving three innocent soldiers from wrongful execution and chopping own a tree possessed by a demon. Saint Nicholas later became the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, prostitutes, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people and students.

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RELIGION CALENDAR

Dec. 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Roman Catholic)

Dec. 8: Bodhi Day (Buddha’s Enllightenment) (Buddhist)

Dec. 10: Hanukkah (Jewish)

Dec. 20: Yule (Pagan and Wiccan)

Dec. 25: Christmas (Christian)

Dec. 26: St. Stephen’s Day (Roman Catholic)

Jan. 1: Mary, Mother of God (Catholic)

Jan. 1: Feast Day of St. Basil (Orthodox Christian)

Jan. 1: Shogatsu/Gantan-sai (Shinto)

Jan. 1 Baptism of the Lord Jesus (Chrstian)

Jan. 5: Twelfth Night (Christian)

Jan. 5: Guru Gobindh Singh birthday (Sikh)

Jan. 6: Epiphany (Christian)

Jan. 6: Feast of the Epiphany (Orthodox Christian)

Jan. 6: Three Kings Day (Christian)

GOOD BOOK?

"Fly Into the Wind: How to Harness Faith and Fearlessness on Your Ascent to Greatness"

“Fly Into the Wind: How to Harness Faith and Fearlessness on Your Ascent to Greatness” by Lt. Col. Dan Rooney

Part spiritual guide and part call-to-action, “Fly Into the Wind” combines Lt. Col. Dan Rooney’s fighter pilot stories with his discovery of faith and purpose in order to help each reader achieve a philosophy he calls CAVU, after the Air Force acronym that stands for “ceiling and visibility unrestricted.”

- Dey Street Books

THE WORD

HaShem: Pronounced “hah-SHEM.” The word some Jews use in the place of the word God, which is considered to be too holy to utter.

- ReligionStylebook.com

RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD

Palau

According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Palau is:

- Roman Catholic: 45.3%

- Protestant: 34.9%

- Modekngei: 5.7%

- Muslim: 3%

- Mormon: 1.5%

- Other: 9.7%

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