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St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) Our Family Traditions

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Thanks to a European influence on both sides of the family, my husband and I both grew up celebrating the tradition of St. Nicholas Day on December 6th.

Many people just know St. Nicholas by the name Santa Claus. While the modern figure of Santa derives from St. Nick, you’d hardly find this patron saint of children making toys in the North Pole.

Who Was St. Nicholas?

The real man behind the fictitious modern day Santa Claus was St. Nicholas of Myra. Born in 280 A.D. in Asia Minor, he lost his parents at an early age, though they left him great wealth when they died. He was known for giving anonymous gifts to help those in need and was eventually made a bishop.

The good bishop died on December 6th; thus this day is now St. Nicholas Day.

(For a fascinating explanation of how a man with a beard, reindeer, and the North Pole came to be associated with St. Nick, see this podcast episode about Santa Claus and the roots of the story in Finnish culture.)

Why the Gift Giving?

The history of leaving shoes or stockings out for St. Nicholas likely stems from the story of him leaving small bags of gold for a man and his three daughters. During those times women had to bring a dowry to a marriage in order to find a good husband.

St. Nick heard of a man who had three daughters but could not afford the dowry. Without it, the daughters would most likely enter a life of prostitution instead of being able to marry. According to legend, St. Nick threw three bags of gold through their window at night, saving them from a life at a brothel and cementing his place as the patron of gift giving.

St. Nicholas Day Around the World

The feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated around the world in various cultures. Our own family tradition is a hybrid of several cultural traditions related to St. Nick.

This is how some cultures around the world remember this day:

Shen’Kollë in Greece

In Greece (as well as Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria), St. Nicholas is celebrated on the eve of his feast day, December 5th. This day is known as Shen’Kolli i Dimnit (Saint Nicholas of Winter). In these cultures, this day is one of fasting, not gift giving. In fact, on this day, most people abstain from meat or fast completely or prepare a feast to eat just after midnight.

Sinterklaas in Belgium & Netherlands

In these countries, children leave their boots in front of the fireplace for St. Nicholas. Often, they include a carrot or a treat for his horses, as legend has it that he arrived with his horses via sleigh or steamboat in these areas.

St. Nicholas and Père Fouettard in France

In France, St. Nicholas arrives on December 6th and gives children small gifts and chocolates. In the weeks leading up to this day, parents and grandparents tell stories of the legend of St. Nick, including a disturbing but popular one. The story goes that three children wandered away and got lost. A butcher lured them into his shop where he killed them and salted them away in a large tub. According to legend, St. Nicholas revived the boys and brought them home to their families. (At least there’s a happy ending!)

This story earned St. Nicholas his reputation as protector of children in France. The butcher (known as “Père Fouettard,” meaning “Father Whipper”) is imagined to follow St. Nicholas in penance and leave lumps of coal or even whip misbehaving children. In France, statues and paintings often portray this event, showing the saint with children in a barrel.

Sankt Nikolaus and Krampusnacht in Germany and Austria

The way our family honors St. Nicholas mainly centers on this tradition. In Germany and Austria (and some other countries in this region), children leave out a boot for St. Nicholas and receive small toys, coins, or candy. In these areas, St. Nicholas still dresses like a bishop and often is portrayed on a horse. Like the French story, a sinister companion accompanies St. Nick, in this case the even more terrifying demon-like Krampus.

In these areas, they don’t mess around with an Elf on the Shelf to encourage kids to be good: they invoke the legend of the Krampus! This beast is thought to punish children who misbehave and to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair. The Krampus has roots in Germanic folklore and its influence has spread to Austria, southern Bavaria, South Tyrol, northern Friuli, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, and Croatia.

December 5th is known as Krampus Night, or Krampusnacht, in which the hairy devil appears on the streets. Traditionally young men dress up as the Krampus on the night of December 5th and roam the streets frightening children with rusty chains and bells.

How We Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

Spooky stories are fun in their own way, but never fear … there is a more cheerful way to celebrate St. Nicholas Day! He was a good bishop known for helping others, after all. We honor St. Nick’s feast day in our family by celebrating in a few ways, adapting a mix of celebrations from around the world.

Leaving Shoes or Boots Out on December 5th

We leave out a shoe or boot in the hallway on the evening of December 5th for St. Nick’s arrival on December 6th. This is similar to the idea of doing stockings, though we do that as well on Christmas Day. In the boots, our kids usually find:

  • Coins: Each child receives some quarters in their shoe to signify the money St. Nicholas gave.
  • Healthy Treats: We also give some healthy treats like dark chocolate, small bags of nuts,  or homemade marshmallows.
  • Oranges: These signify the gold St. Nick gave away and our kids love oranges this time of year (which we don’t usually get because they aren’t in season).

Random Acts of Kindness

The most important lesson from the legend of St. Nicholas is his generosity. To help us all remember this, we make a point to do random acts of kindness this time of year. We brainstorm creative ways to help those in need in our local area, and set about our “secret” mission to bring some joy to others.

In the past, we’ve done things like:

  • Drop off grocery store gift cards to families in need.
  • Give a big box of wrapped gifts and clothes to families who need them.
  • Anonymously pay the utility bills of someone in need.
  • Wrap gifts or donate items to local foster programs.

The list of possibilities is endless, and it’s always a good lesson in gratitude for all our blessings.

The Traveling Christmas St. Nicholas (or Angel)

This is perhaps the most fun tradition and one I hope you’ll consider starting in your own area. In the spirit of St. Nicholas Day, we start a traveling Christmas St. Nicholas (or Angel) tradition to spark generosity all over our area. Here’s how it works:

  1. Get some kind of small St. Nicholas statue or angel statue.
  2. Think of another family in your area you want to pass on the statue to and something kind to do for them. This could be a small gift, a family activity, or just an act of kindness.
  3. Anonymously leave the statue on their front door mat one evening with a letter indicating that they’ve been touched by the spirit of Christmas generosity and that it is now their turn to pass on a kind act to another family in the area. We also print out a paper that “We’ve been visited by St. Nicholas” that they can post in their front window so others know they’ve already been visited.

Whether you celebrate St. Nicholas Day or not, a random act of kindness is a great way to honor the Christmas season and we certainly need more of it in the world. Happy Feast of St. Nicholas, from my family to yours!

Does your family celebrate St. Nicholas Day? What are your traditions?

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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