Do you want to know why do we love 6th December in Slovakia?
It is very special day especially for kids because we celebrate St. Mikuláš or St. Nicholas Day, who brings sweat treats to all children to their clean boots while they sleep.
And when they wake up on 6th December, they run to the window to have a look what Mikuláš brought them.
A Bit From History
St. Mikuláš or St. Nicholas has a centuries of tradition in Slovakia and all Europe. He was born about 270 A.D. in a Greek city Patara in a relatively rich family. After his father’s death, he gave away all his heritage to poor people and dedicated his all life to God and helping people.
It is believed that he was a bishop in a Turkish town called Myra (currently village Demre), this is why Mikuláš or Nicholas is typically dressed in a long red robe with the mitre on head.
He was persecuted for his faith and jailed because Myra was province of a Roman Imperium at that time.
However nothing could St. Nicholas discourage from his faith and love to God.
It is generally known very little about his life as it was really long time ago, however, there are few legends which survived and provided a basics for todays tradition.
It is believed that St. Nicholas died at 6th December and this is why we celebrate him at this particular day.
What Legend Says
One of the legend says about one poor family with three daughters. Father did not have any dowry for them so they couldn’t get married. It threatened that all three daughters would be sold to brothel.
St. Nicholas saved them with the pouch full of gold which secretly thrown through their window.
Probably from this legend arisen current tradition of giving little treats to our loved ones, and this is probably why we put our boots on window.
How we celebrate this day now?
We all know it from childhood. We tried to be good, because we knew that St. Nicholas brings sweet gifts only to good children. Bad children would get only onion or charcoal.
The night before 6h December we all had to polish our boots and put them on the window. Then we went to bed and with bated breath tried to sleep, hoping that St. Nicolas will bring many sweat treats to us.
In the morning we woke up and the first thing was to run to window of course. And we have never been disappointed.
While the whole year my eating of sweets was modest, Christmas time was exception with the full pouch of sweets from St. Nicholas.
These days I was eating sweets all day, and usually they were all eaten by Christmas eve for sure.
I remember during the day, there always has been some celebrating programs in the city with the march of St. Nicholas and his companions – angel and devil – another great chance to get even more sweets.
Saint Nicholas is coming also to kindergartens and occasionally to schools as well.
Many people may confuse this day with the Christmas eve, when we exchange gifts after celebration dinner. This is something totally different. In our country, gifts under the Christmas tree brings little Jesus, or so called “Ježiško” right after dinner. That is what we believe as kids, until we are not old enough to understand that in fact, our parent are buying all those gifts and giving them under the Christmas tree.
Americans have taken over St. Nicholas tradition and made Santa Claus from it. But over time it has become something very different from what we know in Europe, except giving presents.
Even adults are getting treats from St. Nicholas. It is not so magic and innocent than it was when we have been kids, but it is still very nice to buy bunch of sweets to my husband and put it at night to his boots.
Not celebrated everywhere…
It was very surprising for me when I realized that in New Zealand, they do not celebrate this day. We really missed it there so now we are trying to compensate it. You can see it on the amount of treats I got this morning, haha (as shown on cover photo).
© Independent Couple 2015
Some pictures used in this post have been sourced from Google.