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Catholic Dictionary




An American adaptation of the Dutch form of St. Nicholas (Sint Nikolaas), Bishop of Myra in Lycia, who lived in the time of Diocletian. He was long venerated as the patron saint of children, bring them gifts on December 6, and his association with Christmas was popularized by the Dutch Protestants in New Amsterdam. They portrayed the saint as a Nordic magician. He is now a secularized personification of the spirit of Christmas.