Up to now several thousand churches and chapels and hundreds of
songs are written in honor of Saint Nikolaos. He has become the
patron saint of children, sailors, prisoners, pawnbrokers, Sicily,
Greece and several other countries, cities and villages and the
patron saint of wolves.
For centuries now, the Christmas holiday "season" or Winter
Solstice is a time of excessive drinking, feasting, rude and offensive
public behavior including but not limited to mocking of authority,
aggressive begging, public fornication, home invasion of the rich
( this is linked to the idea or custom of "trick or treat"
whereby the lowly could "knock" and ask for a drink or
to be seated at the notable's table for "treat" and if
denied a a nasty "trick" would be made against the house.
) This accepted behavior was called "Misrule". Another
act of "misrule" would be to black one's face and cross-dress
( called Mumming ) or make disguise as animals to provide anonymity
for debauched public behavior which included the disgraceful act
of "Christmas caroling" ( drunken sing-a- longs ) At the
time Misrule had little or no major threat upon society, it really
strengthened the status quo by allowing the less fortunate, the
poor and powerless, an opportunity to blow off steam. Sounds a lot
like our modern "spring break".
The Winter Solstice celebration or feast came in December because
it was the end of the harvest with less daylight and to cold to
plow, but cold enough that slaughtered animals could be eaten and
stored and the beer and wine was ready to drink.