Naughty or nice?

December 7, 2012
Svatý Mikuláš (St. Nicholas Day)

Photo by AnnHirna/

St. Nicholas arrives with his angel and devil

On the afternoon and evening of December 5, Svatý Mikuláš (St. Nicholas Day) always promises a few frenzied hours of pre-Christmas revelry in the Czech Republic. St. Nicholas Day is widely celebrated across Europe, although I’ve yet to hear of another country’s tradition (beyond those of other Slovak nations) that thrives on scaring children into goodness quite like the Czech one. As in other European nations, Czechs, young and old, gather ostensibly to celebrate and pay homage to the distinguished Saint Nicholas, a 3rd century Greek bishop. But it is often his cohorts, čert and anděl, (the devil and the angel) who steal center stage.

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