Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán answered children’s questions in a one-minute video on his Facebook page on the eve of St. Nicholas day, which celebrates a 3rd century saint known as the bringer of gifts.
Saint Nicholas of Myra (270-343 c.e.) was an early Christian bishop, patron saint of sailors, merchants and later celebrated as the bringer of secret gifts (the latter perhaps based on his habit of anonymous charity). He is celebrated in Central and Eastern Europe and parts of Western Europe — mainly Germany.
The saint is depicted with a bishop’s outfit and a great white beard, and is the precursor to the British Father Christmas and American Santa Claus. His day is Dec. 6, and on the eve of his day children in Europe receive gifts in their meticulously cleaned boots and those who have misbehaved, birch switches.
His traditional companion is Krampus, a horned figure who punishes children who have misbehaved.
Answering the question whether he had ever met St. Nicholas, Orbán said: “When I was a child, I met St. Nicholas every year. Now that I have grown some, I only meet him every now and then.”
Asked whether prime ministers are allowed onto St. Nicholas’ sleigh, he said he would be allowed to do so, had St. Nicholas time to “weer towards this region,” which he never has time for.
In an ironic wink to daily politics, answering the question whether he ever receives switches, Orbán said: “That’s mostly what I get.”
Asked whether he is afraid of the Krampus, Orbán replied:
“When I was a child, I was indeed afraid of the Krampus. Nowadays, Krampuses are afraid of me.”