Christmas Traditions Across the World

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the days leading up to December 25, I'll be exploring different Xmas traditions around the world.

If they followed tradition, girls in the Czech Republic are currently waiting to know their marital future as part of their Christmas celebrations.  On December 4, girls put cherry twigs in water. If the twig blossoms before Xmas Eve, they will marry sometime during the year.

Of course, children have been definitely behaving for St. Nicholas aka Svaty Mikalas climbs to earth down from heaven on a golden rope along with his two companions: an angel [Anděl] and a whip-carrying devil[Čert ]. For those kids who have been nice, they get presents from St. Nicholas; those on the naughty list they get visits from the devil with the switch. Talk about good cop/bad cop. 

However, the naughty or everyone else for that matter might really want to avoid Krampus Night. Krampus is Santa’s evil twin whose job is to beat and punish all the children who have misbehaved. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men and witches and drunkenly run around towns hitting people with sticks and switches. The Krampus legend originates in the Germanic alpine regions and is widespread throughout Hungary, Bavaria, Slovenia and in Austria.