English grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension exercises

HOLIDAYS: St. Nicholas Day (December 6)

Choose the best word(s) from the following list to complete each sentence: helpers, horse, death, derived, gifts, believed, accompanied, known, vary, leave.

1. St. Nicholas Day is a Christian holiday, celebrating the saint St. Nicholas of Myra, who, among other things, is associated with generosity and the bringing of . ( = presents)

2. The date of the holiday, December 6th, is thought to be the date of St. Nicholas' , not his birth.

3. The traditions associated with this holiday ( = differ) from country to country. In Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, it is customary for children to leave a shoe with hay and a carrot for St. Nicholas' .

4. Shoes, in fact, play an important role in many St. Nicholas Day traditions. In many places, this is where he is said to his presents.

5. In some traditions, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, when Saint Nicholas brings presents he is by an angel and a demonic creature called the Krampus, whose role is to discipline "bad" children.

6. The term "Santa Claus" is from ( = comes from) "Saint Nicholas."

7. In the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of Germany, the local version of this holiday is as "Sinterklaas". In the Dutch-speaking areas, his are not elves, as they are in the Unites States or Great Britain, but are called "Black Petes" (Zwarte Pieten in Dutch). Some have complained that the "Black Pete" character is racist.

8. Another interesting fact about the Sinterklaas tradition, is that in this tradition he is to be from Spain, not the North Pole.


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