The British daily, the Guardian, included Czech St. Mikuláš day among the top ten traditional winter festivals in Europe.
Czechs celebrate St. Mikuláš day on Dec. 5. This day is a children-focused tradition based on St. Nicholas (Mikuláš in Czech), considered the patron saint of children.
Mikuláš is portrayed as a kind white-bearded old man who rewards children for their good behavior in the previous year. He is accompanied by an angel and a devil who threatens naughty children to put them in a big sack and carry them to hell.
The Guardian invites people to Prague’s Old Town Square, which will fill with mysterious characters on the eve of St. Mikuláš day.
The British daily called the celebration a “curious mix of Santa’s grotto and Halloween,” adding that children have to recite a poem or sing a song to Mikuláš to get sweets. However, if they were a little naughty, they will get coal or potato from the devil.
For those truly naughty children, they may get something much worse.
The devil, known as Krampus in countries like Austria and Czechia, has caught the attention of international media outlets in the past. Known as the “scariest Christmas tradition in the world”, Krampus is supposed to stuff the naughtiest children into a sack and take them off to hell.
Among the top 10 traditional winter festivals named in the Guardian article are the Spanish festival Els Enfarinats and the Kjippen carnival in Florø, Norway. The Guardian also mentions the Slovenian Kurentovanje carnival, which is famous for its strange characters in sheepskin costumes.
In addition, the Bavarian Rauhnacht, the Swiss Tschäggätt parade, as well as the Dutch corner blowing and the Italian Sappada festival all appeared on the list.