Thrills and terror on Saint Nicholas' Day

Photo: CTK

On Monday evening thousands of Czech children were thrilled and terrified by angels and devils, as they celebrated Saint Nicholas' Day. This is the time when the Christmas spirit really begins in earnest. Saint Nicholas, not to be confused with his rather more secular Anglo-Saxon derivative, Santa Claus, comes every 5th December to Czech children. He rewards those who have been good - as long as they recite him a poem - and has a few nasty surprises for those who have been naughty. David Vaughan, joined in the Saint Nicholas - in Czech "Mikulas" - celebrations with his children Tommy and Hannah, aged 7 and 5 and once they had recovered from the trauma, he asked them about their impressions.

Photo: CTK
What happens at Mikulas?

"The devil and the angels come..."

And who else comes?

"Santa Claus..."

Yes, but he's not like the English Santa Claus, is he?

"He is a bishop. He's dressed in white with a hat."

Photo: CTK
And what happens to the children who have been naughty?

"They go into the sack. The devil puts them in a sack and takes them to hell."

And what happens to the good children?

"They get presents."

And did you get anything?

"Chocolate, nuts and a lolly."

Photo: CTK
Did Saint Nicholas come to your school today?

"Yes. It wasn't really Saint Nicholas, it was the children from the fifth class."

Did anybody get taken away by the devil?

"Yes. Vitek."

What had he done?

Photo: CTK
"He was hitting the girls. But he came back again from hell."

Were you scared?


Hannah, you were scared when you saw the devil. Was that because you've been naughty this year?

"I don't know."

A little bit?