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Happy Saint Nicholas Day

A Visit from St. Nicholas, more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. It is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, especially in North America.

Whilst the poem sets the arrival of Saint Nicholas on the evening before Christmas, most Western European countries observe Saint Nicholas Day on the 6th of December. This is in honour of Saint Nicholas of Myra (traditionally 15 March 270 – 6 December 343), an early Christian bishop of Greek descent from the maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor. Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. 

According to one source, in medieval times nuns used the night of 6 December to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. His legendary habit of gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus from the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas.

Today, we have asked Accredited Lecturer Simon Whitehouse to give us a reading of this classic poem to celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas.


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The Arts Society Cardiff are supporting Radnor Primary School to buy a set of glockenspiels which will enable each child in a class to have access to a musical instrument for both group practice and individual improvisation.

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Who better than Simon to read this wonderful poem!

Chris Thu, 23/12/2021 - 10:49 Permalink

What a fabulous reading! Thank you so much!

Carol Caiger Fri, 17/12/2021 - 13:45 Permalink

Just caught up with this reading! Fantastic! Said with such feeling, thank you.

Erica Tarney Mon, 13/12/2021 - 16:53 Permalink

This is the first time I have heard the whole of this poem and what a delight, so beautifully read by Simon.

Seanne Fri, 10/12/2021 - 16:13 Permalink

What a wonderful reading. Memories of my mother reading this poem in my childhood came flooding back.... a super start to the festive season. Thank you.

Jacqui Watt Thu, 09/12/2021 - 05:36 Permalink


What a wonderful reading. Many thanks, Simon.

Anonymous Wed, 08/12/2021 - 14:31 Permalink

I read this poem to my children many years ago. Simon's reading is the most poignantly beautiful I have heard and I listened to it three times. Thank you Arts Society!

Christine Wed, 08/12/2021 - 07:41 Permalink

So enthusiastically read, a tonic!

Margaret Tue, 07/12/2021 - 18:11 Permalink

Lovely Simon, thank you. Until I lived in Germany I did not know about "Nikolaus", as the Germans call it on 6/12. Why is this not celebrated in the UK?
Pat… Tue, 07/12/2021 - 05:51 Permalink

Fantastic reading of a joly good poem. Thank you

Sylvia Tue, 07/12/2021 - 00:01 Permalink