Sunday, December 5, 2010

Naughty or nice?

Will you receive a gift tonight or be put in a sack and taken to hell?

Today is Mikuláš and for those of you in the Czech Republic, perhaps you saw St. Nicholas (Mikuláš) along with an anděl (angel) and čert (devil) wandering the streets.

They ask children if they have behaved themselves over the past year.  Good children receive a small gift, like chocolates, maybe even a little doll or toy car, but bad children are put in a sack by the devil and taken off to hell.  No, not really on that last part, but that's the legend.  Bad children typically get a bag of coal or potatoes.
As popular as Santa Claus is, I'm glad that the old Czech tradition of Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert (St. Nicholas, the angel and the devil) still lives on.  The Czech Republic effectively has two Christmas holidays...the main one being Christmas Eve, but before that the festivities on December 5th, which celebrate the eve of Mikuláš name day.  It's not a public holiday though and is mainly for children.  Nevertheless, I'm happy that we Czechs keep the tradition alive.