Celebrating December 5th abroad

The charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5th. People will walk the streets on that evening and a group of strange characters is walking the streets as well: St. Nicholas (Mikuláš), the Angel (anděl) who represents the Good, and the Devil (čert) representing the Evil. All wear costumes.

Mikuláš looks a bit like Santa Claus whose origin was supposedly inspired by St. Nicholas. All three characters walk the streets, stopping children or ringing doorbells to look for children and asking them if they were good in the past year. Most kids say yes and sing a song or recite a short poem. They are then rewarded with sweets,  candy or other treats, which are handed out by the Angel. Bad kids would be put in the Devil's sack and taken to hell, or would only get a sack of potatoes or coal instead of sweets.

I went with a couple of friends to the city centre to watch this happening. When we got out of the tram, there were a lot of people dressed like the three characters. It was funny to see them. We walked to the central square to watch a performance of St. Mikuláš. Unfortunately they stage was too far away and everything was spoken in Czech so after a while we went back to the dorms.

That evening we, three Dutch girls, prepared a Sinterklaas evening for our Erasmus friends. Everybody had bought some presents and those were put in the bag of Sinterklaas. We also offered them typical Sinterklaas sweets, like meringues, (chocolate) pepernoten, taai-taai and a chocolate letter. They all liked the sweets, except for the taai-taai. Actually nobody really liked it... We played a game which was related to the presents for around 2 hours and after that, everybody went home, satisfied with their new presents. It was a nice evening!