December 7, 2022

Celebrating St. Nick’s Day and Epiphany

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Episode Highlights

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As part of our holiday series, Nicole Magats shares with Robyn Carney about St. Nick’s Day and Epiphany. She goes into how these holidays are celebrated both regionally and in her family.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the latest installment in our Talent Insights video series of holidays that we celebrate here, at Hirewell during the winter season. I am Robyn Carney, the DEI Sourcing Ops Lead and of course, if you like our series, if you’d like our content, please follow our videos. Or go ahead and follow our page. We’d love to hear your feedback. So leave a comment. And today we are going to be talking about a couple things with Nicole.

Hi. Hi guys. I’m Nicole Magats. I am a senior recruiter on the Managed On-Demand team, and as a part of this holiday series, I’m going to spend some time talking about two holidays that happen in the Christian Faith, St.Nick’s Day and Epiphany. St.Nick’s Day comes before the Christmas holiday Epiphany comes after.

I’ll spend the first half of the video talking a little bit about St.Nick’s Day. We’ll transition to Epiphany. But yeah. Robyn, have you heard of either of those holidays before? Kind of. Like, I feel like they’re in the cultural zeitgeist a little bit. Like my dad is Catholic, but I don’t think it’s like necessarily something that he does.

So I’m like excited to learn today. I’m here to learn something new and different. Excited. And I’m here to deliver on that front. We’ll start with St.Nick’s Day, just because that is, I think definitely the more popular or more well known holiday. So St.Nick’s Day, right? Typically happens beginning of December, usually like December 6th, in the Christian holiday. The Eastern Orthodox Christian faith have it a little bit later in the month just because they’re on a different calendar, but always in December. Either December 6th or I want to say December 19th.

And it really comes from this old Saint, his name was Nick. And he’s from, I want to say Turkey. And he was known for, when he would travel, he would leave coins and shoes of like sailors or anyone who like left their shoes out in the towns that he went to. People weren’t leaving their shoes out for him. He was just known as being this like really nice, thoughtful, altruistic person that would just give gifts. And so St.Nick kind of starts as the inspiration behind the Santa Claus, in a lot of respects. And so, you know, kind of transition, especially in Europe and in Christian Faiths, right?

Having this person named St.Nick who would come around and essentially give presents to kids prior to Christmas. As a way to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. Every country is a little bit different. And I think even to your point, like some countries really go all out. Some trickles here or there. The US I think is interesting because some areas take it way more seriously than others. I think, especially as you see like pockets of different communities that hold it closer to themselves. But especially for St.Nick’s Day. Usually like Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Ukraine are really the big ones. But, they really do something everywhere.

The big thing is that someone dressed up with a big beard, vaguely Santa looking, if you will, comes around and gives people presents. And when you’re a little child, what more could you want than getting more presents that are not on Christmas? They’re usually smaller gifts so like candy, coins. But it’s just like a cute little holiday to get people excited about the upcoming season and in the same vein as Christmas. Like reward kids that have been really good and then give kids who’ve been bad, coal. I love it. The coal is interesting because when we talk about Epiphany, the coal kind of makes an appearance there. For some reason, the coal is like a real marker for bad kids across the season. But yeah, it’s interesting because everybody’s like, “Oh, you don’t want to get coal.” And now you can get those little chocolate coal things and give it to people as jokes, which I love.

What will be funny too is an Epiphany. Which we’ll jump ahead now to, I guess. Epiphany is the day that celebrates when the Three Magi or the Three Kings visited Jesus. Right. So in the Christian faith, Jesus is born on December 25th, but the Three Kings who have heard about the birth of Jesus and want to lavish him gifts, they are not able to make it there for another couple of weeks. And so they celebrate Epiphany January 6th again in the Western Orthodox based. Eastern it’s January 19th again. So essentially it’s the celebration of when the Three Kings are able to make it to Jesus and give their gifts and celebrate the birth of the Lord.

The big thing in Europe around Epiphany is it’s another day off. Or at least growing up, my grandparents are from Germany and so they would always limit like, I don’t understand why you don’t have this day off. We always had it off and I was like, what? You got more days off than me, because I was little and didn’t know any better.

So yeah. So every country takes Epiphany a little more seriously or does a little bit more. But Italy is probably one of the bigger celebrators, I guess of Epiphany. They have this figure La Bafana, she’s like this old Italian woman from like old folklore that would just give candy to kids that she really liked, like she was just like some random woman and she wanted to celebrate the birth of Jesus in this lore. And so bad kids would get coal, good kids would get candy.

But now in Italian culture, like it’s expanded enough where it’s come to a point nowadays where they just create this really interesting, coal candy. It’s been so long since I’ve had it, but it looks like a piece of coal and you like put it in and it’s essentially hard candy. But kids will wake up on Epiphany with a bunch of this coal candy essentially, in their stocking. So they get coal but it’s still like a sweet that they get to enjoy.

I love that. I would definitely eat that. It’s fun. I love seasonal candy. It was good. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it when we would eat it. I thought it was good. I mean, I bet it is. It sounds delicious. So these are two holidays that your family celebrates. What are the special family traditions? So, Yeah. So I mean, for me, St.Nick’s is definitely, I guess like the more traditional day that we, I think celebrate and for me is most meaningful. So in the Christian faith, right, like St.Nick-

it’s usually like smaller gifts, candy coins, and my family definitely followed that suit. And this is I think a Magats family specific thing, but still very special. Like my parents love giving gifts. They love like the small, little thoughtful gifts. So for us, St.Nick was always like these little things that usually were like under $20 that were meaningful to me or my sister. So it’d be like a band t-shirt of a band that we really liked, or a book that my dad knew I was really excited for.

Or like a t-shirt or like CDs from artists that we really liked. Little things that were you know-

St.Nick AKA my parents, showing like they know us, they listen to us. And I think as I’ve gotten older it’s just been like such a sweet moment like prior to Christmas. Being able to like feel a little special and feel like my parents really know me. And like got me something that they knew would-

really like impactful, even though it’s like really little.

I love that. I think that’s really great. It’s cute. Epiphany like I said, wasn’t, or hasn’t really been a thing in my family. The biggest thing is like in Catholic school, we’d maybe mention it or celebrate it. Really in my family, the biggest references I would get would be my grandparents from Germany or my grandma from Italy being like we would always get to stay up and making me feel very salty that we didn’t. When you’re 12 and all you care about is getting free gifts and having days off of school, your priorities are always a bit different then. Really what it’s all about is just getting days off from school and those like being able to hang out and eat candy and read a book kind of days. I love that. I think that’s really great.

Robyn thank you so much for joining me. As I tell you a little bit more about St.Nick and Epiphany. Yeah, I loved learning about St.Nick and Epiphany. It makes sense why we didn’t do it. My dad is Irish and so like Catholic, it didn’t come up at all.

So, I’ll ask him about it and be like, “Hey dad.” But I loved learning a little bit and thank you so much for hopping on today. For those of you watching, if you’re interested, please like and subscribe and follow our YouTube channel. If you’re following us on LinkedIn, please do so. Follow one of us.

Nicole is a great recruiter, so she will hook you up with some great jobs. I’ll do my best. You’re great at it. Bye guys. Bye.

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