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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Who better than Simon to read this wonderful poem!
What a fabulous reading! Thank you so much!
Just caught up with this reading! Fantastic! Said with such feeling, thank you.
This is the first time I have heard the whole of this poem and what a delight, so beautifully read by Simon.
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.
What a wonderful reading. Many thanks, Simon.
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!
So enthusiastically read, a tonic!
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?
Fantastic reading of a joly good poem. Thank you