St. Nicholas Day

My mother was born in Switzerland, and both my grandparents are Swiss. Growing up, this meant many different ways to celebrate holidays. When I was young, I didn't know any other kids who celebrated St. Nicholas Day. It was not until I was older and had a friend who was half German, and another who was Dutch and German, did I discover other families that celebrated St. Nicholas Day--in different ways according to their heritage.

You can read about the mostly European celebrated holiday here and the Swiss history of it here.

For my family, it meant that every year we made Gratiman (special bread men), and had a nice evening enjoying marzipan, chocolate, nuts, and oranges. We ate the breadmen with some herb butter, or cheese. Each person got their own bread man --- my mom was always cute and made us each one suited to our personality (in the shape of an animal we liked, or later on one doing a yoga pose for me, and holding a guitar for my brother). The evening was as much about the food, as it was about a beautiful table setting with lots of candles and a nice atmosphere.

When I was still in Canada, and had an oven in my apartment, I made breadmen for the first time 2 years ago. They turned out really well, and I was quite pleased! This year, with allergies to eggs, and no oven to speak of, I had to improvise. I managed to find some bread with no eggs or dairy, and pieced together my own little guest of honour, to be enjoyed with some friends:

In honour of the visual aspects of eating, I decided to try out some of the beautiful Japanese kitchenware I have been slowly collecting (lots of wood and ceramics):

Have you heard of St. Nicholas Day?
Do you celebrate St.Nicholas Day?