Czech children (and adults) eagerly await Mikuláš
Wednesday evening - Mikuláš – the eve before Saint Nicholas’ Day – is being eagerly awaited by children around the country. Each year on December 5, Saint Nicholas accompanied by an angel and a devil, visits Czech families to see if the children have been good. Kids who were well-behaved receive sweets, chocolate, fruit or a present, while those who were naughty (at least in theory) receive a potato or a lump of coal.
Dagmar Janoušková, who has a six-year-old son, reminds listeners that Mikuláš takes some planning; last year she and her son missed out.
Besides students putting on a show for kids, more and more children themselves have taken to dressing up as the saint, the angel and the devil. In Prague, that usually means going to the Old Town Square where a competition to choose the best costumes is held. While it takes a little getting used to seeing little devils and angels running around, it is still in the spirit of the day, says Michaela Štepánová who heads Agentura Karneval, renting traditional costumes – including Mikuláš – year round.
“They take part in the contest to see who will be the nicest Mikuláš, angel and devil and have a chance to win prizes. There is no age limit and that is why many of them take part.”
Increasingly, Mikuláš has also become a big day for Czech companies, who see it as an opportunity for a bit of office fun. Agentura Karneval’s Michaela Štepánová again:
Festivities traditionally kick off around Prague in the afternoon or late afternoon: expect to see many St. Nicks, angels, and devils wandering around the city at dusk.