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St. Nicholas

Santa Claus

Santa Claus. Colored Pencil Drawing. Ulla Hennig December 2010

Today is the 6th of December, and that is “The Day of St. Nicholas” in Germany. The evening before this day children put their boots out and hope, that they will get filled with sweets and little presents.

There’s quite a difference between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. St. Nicholas was a bishop, and so on older paintings or cards he is presented in a bishop’s robe. There’s not much jolliness around him–he carries a sack and a birch–the sack with the presents for the “good” children, and the birch for the bad ones. And he carries a book with him which is full of the good deeds and the acts of misbehaviour. So the 6th of December has not only been a day of happiness for children in the former days in Germany…

Nowadays Santa Claus has replaced St. Nicholas to a certain extent.

By the way, if you want to read more about St. Nicholas, go there.

Deep Winter in Berlin

winter in berlin

Winter in Berlin. Photo: Ulla Hennig

I am writing this post on a very cold Sunday morning in Berlin – the temperature is – 13 degrees Celsius (which is 8.6 Fahrenheit).

Lakes and the river Havel and Spree are frozen; outside the urban center of Berlin we still have about 25 centimeters of snow. It is deep winter in Berlin.

I must admit that it took me some time to adapt to that kind of weather

  • in the beginning I hoped that it simply might go away (which gets more and more difficult if you are reading the daily weather forecast)
  • I was afraid of slipping on icy ground and afraid of the cold and tried to avoid getting outside (which is also difficult if your fridge is getting empty)

But since yesterday my attitude has changed a bit. I had to visit my friends whom I did not see for weeks, and I was looking forward to that. I had to go outside. So I looked up public transport in the internet in order to avoid long waiting times, added some more layers to my clothing, and marched off.

Ok, it was cold, but it did not kill me. The sun was shining after three weeks of hiding behind grey clouds, the air was dry, and I really enjoyed being outside (for some time). It was delicious to arrive at my friends’ and sip a mug of hot tea.

The weather people tell us that the cold weather will stay with us till Thursday next week. Well, I won’t cry when the temperatures will go up, but now I know that I will manage even with very low temperatures.