Symbol Literacy Project – Resources for Saint Nicholas Day

December 6th marks the feast of St. Nicholas, who lived between the years 270 and 346. In the Catholic tradition, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Due to the passing down of various stories related to this saint over the last millennium, many European countries have developed the tradition of giving gifts to children. This has led to the telling of various stories and the creation of various symbols, many of which aim to foster a sense of solidarity and encourage good behaviour in children. In the last two centuries, the secular image of Father Christmas that has come to be associated with St. Nicholas has grown in the United States. This character, who we hear so much about from the Media, has unfortunately become synonymous with materialism and consumerism.

In order to restore values as well as build children’s cultural capital, the Symbol Literacy Project, in collaboration with the National Literacy Agency and the University of Malta, is promoting a set of activities towards the celebration of St. Nicholas Day in primary schools. These activities aim to promote: (i) the discovery of the true identity of Father Christmas; (ii) the true value of gifts; (iii) the value of solidarity; (iv) the process of growing children’s cultural capital, which can help with the development of thought, vocabulary, and expression. To this end, we developed and organized educational resources l that you can use and adapt to the children in your class in a Google Drive Folder. In this folder you will find: (i) activity cards suitable for each primary year; (ii) stories in both Maltese and English; (iii) images for posters; (iv) PowerPoint presentation of Christmas stories and songs; (v) craft ideas; (vi) video clips. Much of this material has been adapted from the website Should you wish to have access to this material, schools should send an email to

Online Sessions – Symbol Literacy

Symbol Literacy Project sessions prepared by Prof Adrian Gellel and Ms Nicolina Borg are organising Online Symbol Literacy sessions targeted at parents/ guardians and their children (7-11 years of age). A different topic will be discussed each time. The first of three sessions will focus on Caravaggio and his work, the second will discuss Narcissus and the last session will elaborate on Narcissus and Echo (as taken from the Greek Mythology).

The first session is scheduled for uploading, on the Symbol Literacy Facebook, this Thursday 21st May 2020 at 4:00 p.m. You can access the page by clicking on the following link: