Monday, December 05, 2011

Mikulas Eve, at Miru

The angels and devils were out in full force at Náměstí Míru tonight. Caroline thought she'd be too old this year, but changed her mind at the last moment. She's decided that next year will be time enough to change hats and don a halo or horns.

If you haven't been in the Czech Republic for Mikuláš Eve before, it's always on December 5th, the evening before Mikuláš' saint's day. Starting around 5 pm, trios of saints, devils and angels head to the big squares around Prague to hand out candy to children willing to sing a song for a bonbon and agree to a yearly review. Kids take the drill seriously; we saw many a long face on our walk to the square tonight. Once past their first talking to, most children cheer up considerably. Caroline sang for at least six trios before we persuaded her to head home to see if the real Mikuláš had stopped by. James refused to talk to a single saint.

Sure enough, at home the children found treasure bags of candy waiting for them (with only one well wrapped potato as a warning from Saint Nick to behave). James sighed with contentment, happy to be home and free from the devils. Caroline hummed her song of the night and decided to start working on her outfit for next year.

{1} Caroline sings a song for one trio; {2} Two devils catechizing a kid on the street (no 4 year old was harmed in this picture,  but he did look guilty afterwards); {3} It's a busy night at Mirak, the angels have to catch up by phone; {4} The devils have already met up, but they're more interested in snacks than quizzing little kids; {5} St. Mikuláš and his devil and angel team up to ask Caroline if she's been good this year; {6} A devil with tail hanging out, bell at her side.

9 comments:

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Julia, you exhaust me. Do you ever sleep? You run a business and I know, from scattered hints, that this can involve work far into the night. You bring up two children and provide wall-to-wall photographic coverage of their activities. You presumably cook meals for the lot of you. You read books. Occasionally dash off a nocturne. Take weekends off at exotic places. Guide ignorant tourists via the text-machine round Prague. Spend precious time dining with these parasites. And yet you find time to immerse yourself in Czech culture, certainly at children level and no doubt at adult level.

I worry that sooner rather than later you're going to spontaneously combust but I comfort myself that you'll probably have that sorted and will re-emerge to blog about the process (while providing techno-backup for Tone Deaf). Surely you must be very close to disproving the theories about the re-creation of energy.

Wunderfrau!

Julia said...

LdP, every now and again I find a free morning when the kids are in school and work is running smoothly and sneak away to take a nap ;-).

Otherwise, it all works together. Writing more on the blog helps my work writing speed up and even project ideas land faster. Very handy really!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The devils intrigue me. In AMerica you'd never see such a thing--people would be too afraid of traumatizing their children, but I think it's kind of a good thing to see both!

Ellen said...

Just try not to combust before Christmas! There's snow in the mountains!!!

(Beautiful photos this year - our Schmützlic and Sämichlaus were so tame in comparison...)

Ellen said...

BB is Lorenzo! Amazing what a name does to a comment...

Julia said...

GG - the devils definitely add spice to the evening.

Ellen - I've checked the Flumserberg web cam twice today - the snow is really coming down, frabjous day!

These are my favorite Mikulas pictures yet. I'm pretty tickled about them, have to admit.

meredith said...

What a neat tradition. I can imagine that the small children take the devils very seriously.

Rouchswalwe said...

I was always more scared of the acerbic saint than I was of the devilish ones. And that crook gave me the willies.

Julia said...

Meredith, I didn't take pictures of the very scary devils. As long as they have no masks, it's easy to tell that they are just kids but the masks really scared James.

Rouchswalwe - For some reason Mikulas is very neutral here. All the drama plays out between the angels and the devils, so you don't get much hint at Mikulas' personality.