New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 3, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
*6 A □ Herald-Zeitung O Sunday, December 3,1995
Hummel Museum to get a visit from St Nick
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
“Kannst du beten?” (Can you pray?) That’s the first thing Saint Nicholas would say to you if you were a New Braunfels child in the days of the first founders.
The Hummel Museum and The Sophienburg Museum turn into “zeitmachinen” (time machines) so children of all ages can celebrate Christmas in the old German traditions.
“We have a little legend which we have adopted from the various cultures concerning Saint Nicholas,” said Clyde Blackman of the Sophienburg Museum.
The legendary St. Nick will visit the Sophienburg Museum at I and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5. Visitors can hear the story of Saint Nicholas and learn the German prayer, “Kannst du beten.”
Saint Nicholas will have candy canes for good children and switches for bad — but of course there are only good children in New Braunfels.
Area children and their parents can feel the joy and awe of Christmas at the Hummel Museum’s second annual Weihnachtsfeier Tuesday, Dec. 5 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“We’re going to have the Kinderchor, Oma from Oma and the Oopmahs, and the Hummel lookalike winners,” said Sieglinde Smith of the Hummel Museum.
Guests at the party get to help decorate the traditional Christmas tree. “We’ll have cider and cookies,” Smith said. “The children get candy canes and apples just like the old times.”
The party culminates with a candlelight procession of children. “The biggest child gets to carry the Christ child baby from Hummel,” she said. They are so proud that they get to carry it and then get to lay it in the straw.”
Children and guests sing “Silent Night” as they walk to the manger. “Last year there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the children appeared with the baby Jesus,” Smith said.
Historically, Nicholas of Myra was a bishop from Lycia in Asia Minor. There was a second Bishop Nicholas who lived about the same time and place. Stories about them merge and they become one St. Nicholas.
Legend has it that there were three maidens who were very poor and could not many because they had no dowry. One night as they slept the bishop threw bags of gold through their window, and when they awoke they found the money in their shoes and stockings.
St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of sailors. They carried his legend to all countries of the world, where it is now celebrated in many different ways.
The Saint Day is Dec. 6. Visits from the “good man” happen on the eve of the fifth. It is a sort of pre-Christmas celebration.
St. Nicholas was referred to as “Nickolaus” in German-speaking homes. New Braunfels children always anticipated his coming.
Sometimes he actually visited the homes. Mama or Papa would open the door and motion him inside, because the children were too scared.
“Nickolaus” was a tall, imposing man with a beard. He wore a large overcoat and a stocking cap and carried a big sack. With a stem look on his face, he approached the children. His first question always was:
Kannst du beten? (Can you pray?)
Each child in turn would respond with a little prayer:
Ich bin klein Mein herz ist rein Sol Niemand drin wohnen Als Jesus allein.
I am small My heart is pure No one shall live in it Save Jesus alone.
When Nicholaus would ask, “Have you been good?” naturally all the children would respond in the affirmative. Before he left, he would open his sack and give the children candy, mixed nuts, apples and oranges. The children were warned if they were bad they might be carried off in Nickolaus’ sack.
Through the years the harshness of the custom eased. In recent generations the visit has become more mysterious and symbolic. Before going to bed on the night of Dec. 5, New Braunfels children might hang stockings in the belief that “Nickolaus” would visit during the night and fill them.
In the morning the children find out if their behavior has been acceptable. If so, their stockings are filled with special goodies. If they find a switch or a potato, it’s a warning that they have three weeks to mend their ways before Christmas.Stammtisch
Tickets are available for three presentations of Christmas Vespers at Texas Lutheran College’s Jackson Auditorium Dec. I, 2, and 3. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are free, but required, since Vespers annually attracts about 2,000 people to campus. Tickets may be secured by calling (210) 372-8180.
Sunday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m., the 36th annual Advent Vespers will be presented by the New Braunfels Music Study Club. The massed choir will be directed by Melitta Frueh, the founder, for the 25th consecutive year. The offering will go intojhe scholarship fund of the Music Study Club. The performance will be given at the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels.
King and Queen bowling
The Barbarosa Bowling Club will hold King and Queen bowling Dec. 5,
6, and 12 from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. For information, call 625-3127 or 379-4378.
City Council Appreciation Day
The Garden Ridge City Council will be honored at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 before the city council meeting. Public invited.
LWV at Wassailfest
The League of Women Voters will participate in Wassailfest on Dec. 7 in downtown New Braunfels. Members will be stationed at gifts and Glitter on the Plaza and at Collected Memories on w. San Antonio. Voter registration cards and Know Your elected Officials pamphlets will be available. In addition, the League will sell 1920s style suffrage posters and pens to supplement its education efforts which include voter guides and candidate forums. For more information, call 980-3188 or 629-5176.
Democrats open house
The Comal County Democrats will hold a holiday open house party at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at Thea Chessher’s home, 300 E. Lincoln. Everyone is asked to bring their favorite snack and a friend. For information, call Darlene Hicks at 629-5167.
On Fnday, Dec. 8, between 11 a.m.
and I p.m., Comal County offices
will be closed to accommodate the
Tour of Homes
The second annual Christmas Tour of Homes, sponsored by the New Braunfels Republican Women, will be held Saturday, Dec. 9 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Four homes will be on this year’s tour. The tour is open to the public, and all the homes will have hostesses present to welcome visitors.
Homes included on the tour are: the Timmermann-Schumann Farm House, I860 Schwarzlose Lane,, the home of Jack and Robbie Borchers, 1355 River Road at Loop 337, the home of Rick and Carolyn Reed, 1476 Hueco Springs Loop Road and the home of Carol and Gerry Belton, 716 Wood Road. Maps are on the backs of tickets.
Light refreshments will be served at all the homes. Tickets are $5, and are on sale at The Collection, China n Things and The Cottage in Gruene. Tickets can also be purchased at any of the homes after the tour begins. For information call 629-6442.
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