One of the things that I love most about the holiday season is attending and organizing parties and events. Yesterday, my kids got to attend 2 significant cultural events: A Filipino one and a Czech one. Our day started off by attending a Filipino party in Prague. It was an event organized by the Filipino community and was open to all Filipinos in the Czech Republic and their families.
It was a typical Filipino party with lots of food, a load of entertainment and attended by a bunch of loud, happy people. My husband, who is not used to huge parties, used to shy away from these events. But after several years of being with me, he now enjoys it immensely. Even my children love these parties. And what’s not to love? There’s always lots of candies and a friend to play with.
But as much as we wanted to stay the whole night for this year’s Christmas party, we also cannot afford to miss another event that was awaiting us back home .
It was the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas (Svaty Mikuláš). They got to be visited by 3 interesting characters: a devil, an angel and Mikuláš.
My Jakub is at an age where he is still very impressionable, so he excitedly recited a rhyme and even sang a song for our guests. Michaela on the otherhand, is now at the stage where she likes to imitate her older brother. Not to be outdone, she also recited some nursery rhymes that we always do together.
At the end of the visit, the kids got a bag of goodies and some candies from the angel. That’s their prize for being good the whole year!
With all the events my kids got to attend yesterday, I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves December. And because we are a bi-cultural household, it’s always twice the fun!
These past few days, my son has been playing this game where he says “Čert”, then runs off and hides under the covers. The first time he said it I didn’t understand what he was talking about until it occured to me that he was actually referring to a Czech christmas day tradition, the celebration of Mikuláš name day (St. Nicholas’ name day). Although Czechs don’t believe in Santa Claus, they believe in St. Nicholas, his other personality.
Because I am still not used to this name day tradition, I completely forgot about Mikuláš Day, which is a tradition that is widely celebrated here in Czech. When I saw one of my friends’ picture of the celebration, I felt bad about not giving Jakub the opportunity to celebrate this tradition. But what I saw in their school’s photo board brought a smile into my face. He was able to celebrate Mikuláš Day after all.
Earlier that day, they were drawing angels.
Then they were out for a walk. It was snowing that day.
On their way back from the walk in the locker area, the mascots for Mikuláš Day were there.
It was funny to see my son’s apprehensive face beside the devil (Čert) mascot. So this was the reason for the game.
Here in Czech, the whole celebration starts on the early evening of December 5th. Traditionally, three personalities “Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert” (St Nicholas, the angel and the Devil), visit children at home to ask them if they have been good or bad. If they have been good, they will be rewarded with candies or chocolates. Otherwise, they will be rewarded with coal or potatoes.
Mikuláš Day signals the start of Christmas. In my household, we haven’t even put up a tree yet since we are in the process of moving to our new place. I’m glad that he’s in school and got to celebrate Mikuláš Day nevertheless.