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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Lovely, thank you, Simon - and a great reminder to get the book out to read to the grandchildren over the next weeks
What a delight! thank you.
Lovely to have memories brought back with this poem so beautifully and clearly read by Simon. Thankyou
Beautifully read, and a charming poem, thank you!
Thank you for such a lively reciting of a truly 'Christmas' poem. it brought back memories of my childhood listening to it.
What a pleasure it was to see Simon again and to hear his lovely rendering of the St Nicholas poem, which I hadn't heard before.
Thank you a joy to hear
well read indeed. Remembering the Dutch tradition of sinterKlass when as children we all received Droste chocolate letters. Mine was a M, so lots of chocolate.
I can’t see very well so this was a lovely listen. Thank you
Absolutely lovely to hear that today, thank you.