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Tid-bits in celebration of my favorite holiday - Christmas....

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Adirondack Lifestyle ™: Tid-bits in celebration of my favorite holiday - Christmas....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tid-bits in celebration of my favorite holiday - Christmas....

Today is December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas. In Holland, everyone celebrates the Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, on the eve of December 6. After dinner, Dutch families hunt for presents, following clues in funny, anonymous poems. They also eat candies and cookies. The legend of St. Nicholas is, like the lives of many saints, shrouded in mystery. We know that he was a bishop during the fourth century. In many places in the United States, like the Adirondacks, and abroad, children still place their shoes by the window or door for St. Nicholas to fill them with presents and sweets. He is considered the patron saint of children.
Here is an explanation of how the famous "Adirondack Yule Log" tradition got started.
The burning Adirondack Yule Log is symbolic of the light that will return after the dark days of early Adirondack winter and gives us an excuse to gather with family and friends before a roaring fire, after a hard day skiing.
The Adirondack Yule Log tradition is an old one, going back to the Druid custom of choosing a large log from an apple or oak tree, lighting it afire, and praying that it would burn forever,or at least until they were done skiing for the winter. In the Adirondacks, the log was selected months before Christmas. Because it was believed that all who brought it in from the Adirondack woods would be protected against harm for the ensuing year, everyone lent a hand, making the event itself a festive time.
Custom also decreed that a piece from the previous year's log be saved to light the new log. As the Adirondack Yule Log burned, everyone danced and cavorted and skied in its heat and warmth, safe in the knowledge that the evil spirits would stay away for another year.
Written with a nod to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.


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