Dec. 6th – St. Nicholas Day (6. Prosinec – Den Svateho Mikulase)

6 12 2008

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St. Nicholas, the Angel and the Devil

Have you ever seen three mysterious characters walking the streets of Czech and Slovak cities on December 5th? It most likely was St. Nicholas (Mikulas), the devil (cert) and the angel (andel). These characters are part of the holiday called “Mikulas” and it is known in many places in Europe. These three characters visit Czech and Slovak children on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day and give them either sweets or a sack of gifts from the devil

 

St. Nicholas looks a little like Santa Claus. Children who have been good throughout the year sing songs or recite poems to St. Nicholas and his entourage. St. Nicholas then gives them sweets, chocolate and other goodies. Children who were bad get a bag of black coal or raw potatoes and if they were really bad, they can also end up in a large sack, which the devil takes to hell. This may even be a very traumatic moment for some children; thus, they may not enjoy this holiday.

 

It is, therefore, a little bit easier for children that don’t encounter St. Nicholas and his helpers since they don’t have to worry about being taken to hell. They will find out how well they listened to their parents only by finding stockings in their rooms with either gifts from Mikulas or the devil. What they get in their stocking is, of course, arranged by their parents.

 

There are many volunteers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, that represent these three characters and are visiting homes of children on behalf of their parents, but they can also be seen in large towns such as Prague and Bratislava. All three characters represent a great balance between good and bad and this tradition can be somewhat understood as the first evidence that Christmas is approaching – a holiday of joy and peace.

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(Goodies from St. Nicholas) Nadilka

Videli jste jiz tri podivuhodne postavy v podvecer 5. prosince kracet ulicemi mest Ceske a Slovenske repuliky? Mohli to asi byt Svaty Mikulas, cert a andel a tento svatek je znamou tradici v mnoha mistech Evropy. Tyto tri postavy navstevuji Ceske a Slovenske deti den pred svatym Mikulasem a obdarovavaji je bud sladkymi dobrotami a nebo pytliky s dary od certa.

 

Svaty Mikulas vypada tak trochu jako Santa Claus. Deti, ktere byly hodne po cely rok zazpivaji kratkou pisnicku a nebo prednesou basnicku Mikulasovi a jeho doprovodu. Mikulas jim pak da bonbony, cokoladu a jine sladkosti. Deti, ktere zlobily dostanou od certa pytlik s uhlim a nebo syrovymi bramborami a pokud byly opravdu zlobive, mohou take zkoncit v pytli, ktery pak cert vezme do pekla. To muze byt pro nektere deti velmi traumatickym momentem, a proto tento svatek nemuseji mit v oblibe.

  

Deti, ktere Mikulas nenavstivi to maji proto o trochu jednodussi, protoze se nemusi obavat ze zkonci v pekle. No a o tom, jak poslouchali sve rodice se dozvi az kdyz najdou ve svem pokoji punchochu od Mikulase a nebo od certa a o to, se samozrejme postaraji rodice.

 

Mnoho dobrovolniku v Ceske republice a na Slovensku se prevlekaji za tyto tri osoby a navstevuji domovy deti na pozvani jejich rodicu. Muzete je ale take nalez ve velkych mestech, jako napriklad v Praze a Bratislave. Vsechny tri postavy zobrazuji rovnovahu mezi dobrem a zlem a tato tradice muze byt take porozumena jako znameni ze se blizi Vanoce – svatky pohody a miru.

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