Sweet treats or stuffed in a sack?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coming home on the metro yesterday, I encountered a miniature devil, angel and St. Nick:

Were they getting a late start on Halloween? 


They were celebrating Dec. 5, Svaty Mikuláš, which is a big part of Czech winter holidays. People dress up like devil/angel/St. Mikuláš trios and walk around the city. Children approach and are asked if they've been good or bad , or maybe even to sing a song; the sweet kids get treats from the angel and the bad kids are supposed to be stuffed in the devil's sack and taken to Hell. (!)

From idnes.cz
There were loads of families out last night, and most little kids were wearing devil horns or angel wings over their puffy jackets and knit hats. Completely adorable.

The first time I'd spent Dec. 5 in the Czech Republic (almost a decade ago), I was a bit taken aback at what appeared to be people in blackface, especially since there aren't many people of color in Prague. But today, most čerts (devils) wear masks or have black paint smeared on like they've been in a chimney. And truth be told, čert really is an innocent concept here; Czechs don't have the connotation to slavery or race like we do in America.

From Marionettes.cz
In additional Christmas-y news, we had flurries today! I tried to take a picture out my classroom window, but you can't really see the flakes. They were there, though. My students were all groaning while the little cheerleader inside me was doing backflips; I love the way Prague looks in the snow, and BW keeps saying he's eager to see it, too.

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