Friday, 17 January 2014

St Nicholas (9th December 2013)

Some people started by playing outside in the playground while others did free drawing inside.

Once everyone was inside we began our circle with the Rabbit Fingers Game.

Then we drew and coloured in pictures of St Nicholas and decorated ginger bread 'lebkuchen' figures with icing to look like Santa Claus (thank you to Lucy for the baking!)

We turned the lights off and sat in our circle around candles with our decorated biscuits and a mysterious basket covered by a tea towel. We talked about St Nicholas who's celebrated across Europe on 6th December (especially in German-speaking countries). Lucy told us about the tradition of shoes containing gifts outside the door that led to the stockings we know (and love) in Britain today and we learnt about the real Saint Nicholas, who lived in Myra in Turkey and who helped vulnerable and homeless children.

We learned about more traditions in other countries:
  • Lucy told us that in Switzerland St Nicholas travels with two black faced chimney sweeps called Schmutzlis who carry whips to punish children who have been bad.
  • Christine told us about the Austrian tradition where St Nicholas is accompanied by an angel and a krampus - a frightening figure, dressed in fur, with horns, chains and a whip.
  • Vidar talked about the Swedish yule log 
  • Catrin described the Catalan Caga Tio (Uncle) - a wooden log who 'poos' presents while you are beating a tree with sticks!
Then we uncovered the basket to reveal tangerines, swiss chocolates and "Grittibenz" (a sort of brioche in the shape of a Michelin man) (thank you again to Lucy for all the baking - and the chocolates!)

We went around the circle taking a grittibenz, chocolate and tangerine each and telling each other all about our different Christmases:
  • some of us travelled to our grandparents' houses
  • some of us stayed at home
  • some of us visited friends or had friends to visit
  • some of us celebrated on Christmas Eve 
  • some on Boxing Day
  • some moved Christmas to suit our friends and family
  • and some of us celebrated the Winter Solstice instead 
We linked hands and sang the Woodcraft Folk Song

Session Lead: Lucy
Leaders: Catrin, Kate, Alison
Helper: Christine, Marie, Tei

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