Oranges and the Holiday Season
The Catholic Church and many European countries mark Dec. 6 as St. Nicholas’ Day. Known as Santa Claus to Americans, St. Nicholas delivers gifts on Dec. 6 while in Germanic countries the Krampus doles out the punishment for those who have been bad.
The reason why you might want to know about St. Nicholas is because of a specific story that relates to getting an orange in your stocking.
During the 3rd and 4th centuries, women needed a dowry to be married. One father in Patara had three daughters when he lost all of his earthly wealth. The daughters would have to be given to prostitution if they were going to survive.
St. Nicholas heard about the poor man’s plight, and here is where accounts vary. Some say that he delivered a bag of gold through the window. The bag landed in a stocking near the fire that melted the gold into a sphere. That would make the dowry for the oldest daughter. Nicholas would return at intervals and do the same thing for the other two sisters.
Another version says that Nicholas delivered three bags of gold at the same time through the chimney. The bags landed in three different stockings, and the gold melted into a sphere. Either way, the spheres are represented as gold, as children’s heads or as fruit.
Oranges weren’t always as readily available everywhere as they are today. In fact, while they would get to Europe in the wintertime, there was no good way to keep them fresh so they had to be eaten. During the dead of winter, a bright orange would be a welcomed reminder of the sun.
That is why some families have the traditional Christmas orange.
The orange is full of citric acid, which is an anti-oxidant and mood elevator. Just 1 cup of a raw orange will provide 160 percent of the RDA Vitamin C.
It doesn’t matter which holiday you celebrate this season, if any. What does matter is that you know there are people who appreciate you for who you are. Those of us at Cantu’s Culinary Creations want to thank you for being a part of our lives.
Another Christmas Orange story: http://www.santalady.com/xmasgame/stories/orange.html