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Saint Nicholas at the Luxembourg Embassy

Published Wednesday December 06 2017

Every year on 6 December, children throughout the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg eagerly await the arrival of the "Kleeschen" (St. Nicholas) and the gifts he brings. 

"Niklosdag" (St. Nicholas’ Day) is celebrated in honor of Nicholas of Myra, also known as Nicholas of Bari, a young bishop in the 4th century who, according to legend, saved a number of children from death. In the Middle Ages, St. Nicholas became the patron saint and protector of young children. Towards the beginning of the 17th century, the tradition of St. Nicholas is said to be taken to the United States by European immigrants, where it spread rapidly. Ultimately, the "Kleeschen" became Santa Claus.

Luxembourg tradition has it that on the eve of "Niklosdag" the amiable bishop, accompanied by his acolyte "Houseker", brings gifts to the children of the house. 

In the Grand Duchy, St. Nicholas' day is a school holiday for children in elementary school.

Here in Washington, "Kleeschen" visited the Embassy of Luxembourg somewhat early, delivering last Friday already gifts to the children of the Luxembourg community.