Monday, December 8, 2008

Mikuláš, Anděl & Čert

Before St. Nicholas was a saint, and before he evolved into Santa Claus, he was a bishop. This is how he is portrayed here in the Czech Republic every December 5th (the eve of his feast day), when people dress as Mikuláš (Nicholas), an Anděl (angel) and the Čert (devil or demon) and visit the homes of children (usually for a small fee and/or a shot or a beer) to give them gifts of candy and goodies, but not before scaring the hell out of them.

Here's what happens: Mikuláš, Anděl and Čert visit the home, the children stand there facing them, scared to death of the Čert (who has a long tail, and a chain and is just frightening). Mikuláš, who is kindly and warm, reads from a book and lists the ways the child was bad this year (lying, not cleaning, etc.). The child then owns up to this wrongdoing saying "To je pravda" (It is true) and then each child has to say a poem or sing a song to receive the gifts. At some point the Čert tries to put the child into a bag to take them away to someplace (hell?) where all bad children go.

For my first Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert experience, we went to the home of Katka's sister, Petra & her boyfriend. Her daughter, Cristina (who is the adorable brunette) is five and said she wasn't really nervous, but check out the look on her face. That girl is seriously freaked out. Andy's brother, Lukaš and his girlfriend Katka dressed as Mikuláš and the Čert (we didn't have an angel) and were awesome - especially Katka as the Čert - she spoke/screamed like a lunatic and made these horrible sounds.

This tradition is awesome!

It incorporated drinking, dressing up and scaring (but then rewarding) children.

Notice the (fake) child's leg
hanging out of the Čert's bag!

For more pictures, click here

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