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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.


Our Societies support hundreds of local arts and heritage projects. Each day we highlight a grant given in 2021. 

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.

All donations from the Artvent Calendar will go towards The Arts Society’s grant giving fund, which awards grants to help preserve our artistic heritage, support the skills of artists and makers, and improve access to the arts for all.

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Very special. Thank you.

Lizzie Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:57 Permalink

Wonderful, thank you

Pamela Selman Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:47 Permalink

Wonderful memories of my childhood after listening to this lovely reading.

Shirley 78 years Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:41 Permalink

Thank you so much Simon for the lovely reading today. It was good to see such a familiar face from the Around the World in 80 Days readings. Certainly cheered up the day here - from dark morning with dreary rain!

Valerie Maidment Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:41 Permalink

Beautifully read, thank you. I have read that poem out loud to children for over thirty years of teaching, but am now retired - it was simply wonderful to listen to it again.

Philippa Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:38 Permalink

Great reading of the poem - and lovely to read about Bavaria's celebration, also.

Sue Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:12 Permalink

How lovely thank you

Patricia Mon, 06/12/2021 - 10:12 Permalink

Here in Belgium we celebrate St Nicolas, and for the last few years we have made it a tradition in our apartment block to hang St Nicolas chocolates on everyone's front door on the evening of 5 December. All the chocolate shops here sell special chocolates in the shape of St Nicolas, who looks rather like Father Christmas but wears a bishop's mitre.

Janet Mon, 06/12/2021 - 09:51 Permalink

Absolutely beautifully read - the best Artvent so far! Many thanks to Simon.

Chrissie Twigg Mon, 06/12/2021 - 09:46 Permalink

An absolute joy. Simon was perfect. I know I will listen again and again .Thank you Simon

liz simpson Mon, 06/12/2021 - 09:18 Permalink