Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mikulas in the Czech Republic

Mikuláš is St Nicolas' name day, and Czech celebrate it in a big way.

An angel and a devil accompany St. Nicolas on his rounds on December 6 and thereabouts. The devil (often rattling chains or wearing cowbells) tries to scare the children.  If they're brave and talk to St. Nicolas (dressed like a bishop), then the angel gives them gingerbread or other treats.  If they've been bad, St. Nicolas gives them coal or...potatoes.  At Mikuláš markets, I think it's fun to watch these costumed characters.  There are probably 10 devils for every St. Nicolas.  I guess we know which is more fun.

Valašské Klobouky, a village near Vsetín, has a famous Mikuláš market, where you can buy Christmas goods, handicrafts, and local food.  There's traditional music and dancing.  But the coolest things is the number of devils running around, cowbells ringing.  It's a lot of fun.  

Here are some pictures from my trip with fellow teachers and friends.

A devil and angel welcoming travelers to the historic steam train
Valašské Klobouky, Czech Republic

St. Nicolas (Mikuláš)
Valašské Klobouky steam train

Mikuláš with my friends, Lance and Jana, and their son, Lucaš

Running devil, Valašské Klobouky market

Another style of devil, Valašské Klobouky

These devils like swatting innocent passers-by with their little jalovec (juniper) trees.
All in fun.
Valašské Klobouky, Czech Republic

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