Pat Shingleton: "Anniversaries: St. Nicholas and Fog..."
Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas and since the fifth century it has been celebrated on this date. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra which is modern-day Turkey. As noted in previous articles, The Little Blue Book - Advent and Christmas Seasons mentions that Nicholas aided people in need, anonymously throwing small bags of gold in their windows. The legend has the bags landing in stockings drying near the fireplace. His generosity encouraged others to give gifts during Candlemas. English reformers replaced Nicolas with Father Christmas, believing he was too close to the Catholic Church. Later the name became Santa Claus and Clement Moore gave him a sleigh, reindeer, pipe, bag and a chimney in "The Night Before Christmas." Another "anniversary," is identified... London, England has experienced numerous episodes of “Great Stinking Fogs” and inversions act like a lid, preventing the air from moving. On December 5, 1952, a dense, gray vapor was haloing London’s streetlights. The ground was damp and chilly after a stretch of cold, rainy weather and no fronts were available to stir the atmosphere. This inversion began the Great London Smog that lasted for three months as thousands of Londoners died from the effects of polluted air. It was also known as “modern London’s most massive civilian disaster.” For the first time in history the event began a campaign of limiting the poisonous side effects of industrial pollution.
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