Relics of St. Nicholas, disinterred 1953

In 1087, Nicholas’ bones were taken from their tomb in Myra and brought to Bari, Italy. When the ship carrying the saintly spoils docked on May 9th, thousands of townspeople and pilgrims greeted them gleefully at the harbor. In 1953, the bones were disinterred, studied and cataloged, then replaced in a retrofitted crypt.

To this day, the town of Bari celebrates the relic’s arrival with a huge, festival.  A couple days before May 9th, a group of priests are sent to sea with a painting of Nicholas, then return to port on the 9th to be greeted by people dressed up in 11th-century garb, a parade, fireworks, and a huge outdoor mass. The festival is generously called the "translation of the relics", to disassociate it from the rather less holy fact that it is a celebration of centuries-old grand larceny.  In 2009, the Turkish government requested the return of the relics from Italy to Demre, the present-day city that was once Myra.  The bones have yet to budge.