Saturday, November 26, 2011

'Tis the Season for Svatý Mikuláš

'Tis the season!

For those of you in NYC and the surrounding area, the Czech Center of NY will be hosting a party for children.  Get in touch with your roots or experience a Czech tradition by coming out and celebrating St. Nicholas Day!

There will be caroling, films being shown, treats, and St. Nicholas himself will be present, along with the Devil and Angel.  

Date:  Sunday, December 4
3-5 pm

Location:  371 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021

From the NY Czech Center's website:

Saint Nicholas Day
The charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the Eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5th. It is the most popular Advent holiday celebrated in the Czech Republic. It is a special time when children receive sweets and small gifts.

On December 5th, the Eve of St. Nicholas Day, a group of three figures visit families with children: St. Nicholas, the Devil and an Angel.

Traditionally, St. Nicholas quizzed children on the prayer-book and the Bible. Today, however, the questions are mostly about the previous year's behavior. The Angel writes a record for each child in a large book and the children sing or say a poem to the saint. The Devil rattles his chains, threatening to put bad children in the sack and take them to Hell, but the Angel, with a gold star on her forehead and dressed in a white gown, protects the children. Good children receive stockings filled with tangerines, nuts, chocolates and small gifts. It is said that bad children get old potatoes or coal in theirs.

The St. Nicholas tradition is supposedly based on a 4th century Greek bishop named Nicholas who is said to have left a gift of money on the windowsill of three poor girls to enable them to get married.

This tradition is still very popular. You can see the threesome in towns and villages all over the Czech Republic, and the tradition is still quite important, whether it’s a family affair in a village or an organized event, with activities for parents too, in one of the bigger towns.

 For info visit NY Czech Center