Monday, December 28, 2009

More "Christmas" Coats of Arms

Traveling back in time from the Santa Claus of the last post, we come to his historical predecessor, Saint Nicholas.  Like most saints, Saint Nicholas has attributes which, if known to the viewer, will help to specify exactly which saint's image is being viewed.  In St. Nicholas' case, he is usually shown wearing a bishop's mitre, often carrying the crozier of a bishop, sometimes holding a Gospel book, and usually shown with either three bezants (gold balls) or three gold coins (referencing the story of his anonymous donation of dowries to three impoverished girls), or three children, or three boys in a pickling tub.  (This last comes from a miracle performed by the Saint, but the story is a tad gross and not really related to heraldry.  If you want to know more about this, or other stories of St. Nicholas, please feel free to visit, e.g.,

Anyway, there are a number of coats of arms with a depiction of Saint Nicholas on them.  The two shown here are the arms of the towns of Ergersheim, France (on the left) and of Waal, Germany.

Finally, and my favorite of all of them, are the arms of Sint Niklaas, Belgium (shown here in two variations; the one on the tile comes from the Saint Nicholas Center's website at  I'm not sure about the turnip.  I have to assume it has less to do with Saint Nicholas than it does with the town or region in which Sint Niklaas is located.


  1. it is local see Sint Niklaas ar
    The object is a beet, the story goes that the emperor Charles V came to the town and that a farmer wanted to present him with a beet the emperor rewarded the farmer with a purse. Seeing this a local horse breeder imagined that if he presented a horse to the emperor he would get a big reward. He presented a horse and the emperor said that he would pive himone of his most priced possesions and gave the beet to the horse breeder.

  2. What a great story! Thank you for sharing it!