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Strichnine tree fruit ingestion

Strichnine tree fruit ingestion, also called St. Nicholas vomiting, is a phenomenon in which fruit is forced into the mouth and the gastric tubes of an individual and is expelled. The timing and severity of St. Nicholas Vomiting varies, and can occur once or many times a day.

The term "St. Nicholas Vomiting" is most commonly used for fruit throwing by St. Nicholas Day, usually after November 5, in Europe, the Americas and some regions in the Middle East. St. Nicholas Vomiting is not a very common practice for Santa Claus, as the person throwing the fruit most commonly does not get to come up with the name. Saint Nicholas Vomiting is also a more recent phenomenon, the exact start date not being known but originating sometime in the 1800s.

Origins

The earliest reference to Saint Nicholas' vomiting is in the 1590 work, The Life and Miracles of Saint Nicholas by Antonino Cancio, published in Spanish and Latin. In it, Nicholas dispenses his apples in just one way: by vomiting them down the throat of children. It was later followed up in the 1595 work, A History of Popular Superstitions in Britain and France by John Hone, and in the 1882 work, Saint Nicholas and his "Vomiting." This latter book and some later works of local folklore explicitly describe Nicholas vomiting the apples down his throat. By then the story was spreading that the reason was that Nicholas could not stand the fruit. By the late 1800s it was a phenomenon people associated with Saint Nicholas, and the British author Frederick Ormerod and the French author Aimee Boulmet mention St. Nicholas Vomiting in their 1902 work, Saint Nicholas.

Most early references to Saint Nicholas vomiting are given in the same general sense of being a Christmas tradition, rather than an annual event. The earliest known reference to Saint Nicholas vomiting as an annual event, is a 1909 reference in "A Calendar of Customs, Popular and Ecclesiastical", by John A. Stokoe. In the 1925 edition of Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review, a handful of additional references are noted. Most of these are confined to a local area and are in a spirit similar to "Mistletoe throwing" for the holiday of New Year's Eve. An article in the Blyth Northern Echo on November 5, 1925, even notes the ceremony in its review of Saint Nicholas Day festivities in Northumberland and Durham. The origin of the tradition is ascribed to a noted British author named Frederick Ormerod, but the attribution was not true at the time, nor is there any other reference to an author. The tradition is also mentioned in the 1979 book "Santa Claus: In His Own Words", by Don Messer. The 1975 St. Nicholas Vomiting Order, known as "The Santa Claus Vomiting Order", was a reform of a local custom in the spring of the year 1925.

Reported Vomiting incidents

The majority of written sources and newspaper articles detailing the Saint Nicholas Vomiting phenomenon do not include a significant number of reported incidents. This may be due to the amount of people involved, or that people are hesitant to report the event for fear of getting caught and being persecuted, or being accused of other crimes.

Although the exact number of people who participate in the Saint Nicholas Vomiting custom has never been published, the most reputable estimates place this figure at "tens of thousands of people", according to a US Government article on St. Nicholas Vomiting. A UK Government study in 1982 claimed that "as many as 5 million cases" are reported annually. A more recent (2006) article gives a lower figure of 3,500 cases annually. Statistics are hard to gather as, other than the original date of the tradition, no other measurements have been taken.

Statistics of the date of Saint Nicholas Vomiting in each country varies by the publication. The most comprehensive database available is maintained by the US Government, with official statistics collected in each US state. The distribution of Saint Nicholas Vomiting events based on country is displayed below, by year.

There have also been reports of Santas throwing apples at hotel windows in the United Kingdom, as part of


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