20 May, 2011


Saint Nicholas Day (Mikuláš)

The charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5th. If you find yourself walking the streets that evening, you may run into a group of strange characters: St. Nicholas-Mikuláš (not as commonly seen as the other two characters, the Angel-anděl who represents the Good and the Devil (čert) (the Czech people would say devil, but it's more like a demon- they feel that the word demon is too scary for children and I think to myself like a man dressed up as a demon that's called a devil isn't scary...) representing the Evil. All three will be wearing costumes.

All three characters walk the streets, stopping children and asking them if they were good in the past year. Most kids say yes and sing a song or recite a short poem. They are then rewarded with sweets, candy or other treats, which are handed out by the Angel. Bad kids would be put in the Devil's sack and taken to hell, or would only get a sack of potatoes or coal instead of candy - of course it does not really happen! The Devil will often carry a chain and scare or persuade the children to be good for the next children. Then the Devil, Angel and St. Nicholas get rewarded with a shot of alcohol.

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