Moş Nicolae

Today is a big day in Romania – “Saint Nicholas’ Day”, known colloquially as Moş Nicolae, literally meaning “Old Man Nicholas”.

In both Catholicism and (Romanian) Orthodox, today is a religious holiday to celebrate the acts of Saint Nicholas.

In Romania, Moş Nicolae is roughly equivalent to Santa Claus (Brit: Father Christmas). Last night, little children all over Romania put boots (sometimes shoes) out for Moş Nicolae to fill with presents, generally lots of sweet, good things to eat like candy, chocolate and oranges.

Hopefully, if they were “good”, they awoke this morning to find presents!

From Crestin Ortodox website (my translation):

When I was a child, I would polish my boots and put them in the window to be filled with gifts. I had some friends would put their shoes by the front door because that’s where Moş Nicolae would come in the house.

I never asked where he came from because it was enough that my friends and I would awaken to find presents in our boots, proof that Saint Nicholas could enter the house either via the window or through the door.

Thanks to his holiness, he knew what you need and brought you what you desired. Because of his generosity, a lot of children confused God with Saint Nicholas.

Even though this is largely a tradition for children, just about every young woman under age 30 usually gets candies and chocolates too.

Street vendors also sell a wide variety of trinkets and colored staffs for this holiday as well.

If there’s a child or a young woman in your life, be sure to get her a sweet treat today!

7 thoughts on “Moş Nicolae

  1. Actually Mos Craciun and Mos Nicolae are NOT equivalent. In middle school religion classes they used to tell us that Mos Craciun was the innkeeper at the inn where Jesus was born. Too bad I can’t find any references to it.


      1. heheh, no, on the land I am on there are no such traditions.

        I can replace Mos Nicolae with Mos Nici-o-laie (… like Santa Nothing-for-me)


  2. You should mention that Romanians also have Mos Craciun (Mos Gerila before ’89) to bring them presents for Christmas. December is a big spending month!
    Religiously, Sfantul Nicolae is in fact Santa Claus, but Romanians didn’t compress the two holidays (St. Nicolae and Christmas) together. The words “Santa Claus” are derived from “Saint Nicholas”. Say it fast, you’ll see :D


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