Thursday, 6 December 2012

Saint Nicholas' Day

Today is Saint Nicholas's Day. Saint Nicholas is of course the prototype of Santa Claus, or his old name, before he became a chubby, jolly old man. In some countries, it is just as big as Christmas, and very similar too. But for me, it reminds me of this story associated with Saint Nicholas, the story of the three boys killed by the butcher, often called The Legend of Saint Nicholas. I blogged about it before. It reminds me that there is a dark side to Christmas. I wanted to write my own take on the legend, with my own take on the character of the Père Fouettard and his origins (a bit like I did for Jack O'Lantern). but I lack energy and time this year. So it will have to wait until next year.

Two little anecdotes about the legend and the saint: Anthony Burgess used this very tale in Earthly Powers, where he imagined a future for the three boys growing up. It is very pessimistic, even cynical, yet it is a fair portrait of miracles in a world where men are condemned to be free (Burgess thought little of miracles, even resurrections). And on the other side of the artistic spectre, my brother bought me last Christmas the Dutch horror movie Saint, also based on Saint Nicholas and his day, which is celebrated in Holland. It is by far one of the dumbest, cliché filled horror movie I ever watched.

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