Saint Nicholas’ Day is celebrated on 6 December. On this day, we give small gifts to loved ones. This custom has its origins in the Middle Ages, some 1,000 years after the death of Nicholas of Myra. According to tradition, children who have been good all year round receive small gifts on this day; depending on the region of Poland, gifts can be found under the pillow, in a special sock, or in shoes. Above all, on this day, shoes must be cleaned and nicely lined up, because, according to a Poznań legend, Father Christmas looks through the window on 6 December and when he sees clean shoes, he leaves presents, and when he sees dirty ones, he leaves a rotten “pyra”, or potato. In each country, Father Christmas goes by a different name; for example, in the former Soviet Union, he goes by the name ‘Дед Мороз’ ( translated as ‘Grandfather Frost’), who, in Russia, for example, lives in the city of Veliko Ustiug ( Russian: Великий Устюг) and only gives out presents on New Year’s Day. The current image of Father Christmas with a long beard and wearing a red hat has now become permanent.
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