Santa in Hungary

When I posted on my Budapest site about the St. Miklós day in Hungary I realized from the comments that this tradition is not a wordwide one. So here I share with you more details on the Hungarian tradition.....the way we celebrate St. Miklós day.

My own experience:

We call him Mikulás. I guess its the old version or somehow modified version of the name Miklós. Actually 6th of December is also the name-day of every Miklós in Hungary, which is quite a common name here.

But Mikulás is definitelly a name only for Santa Claus. The tradition is the following:

Children and adults with childish soul (like me):) are cleaning their boots on the 5th of December in the evening and they put the cleaned boots/shoes to the window. Then they go to sleep because Mikulás arrives at night only when everybody is sleeping.

But its always a risk what Mikulás will bring. If children were good he brings chocolate just as you can see on the photo here:


But if children were not good during the last year they might get "virgács" from the "krampusz".
The "krampusz" is usually dressed black, actually I guess refers to the devil but usually he is rather funny then scary. Mikulás is guieded usually by one or two "krampusz" and if the children were not good guys they get the "virgács" instead of chocolate which is actually a stick or some sticks together.


The facts I facts I found about this traditions:

St. Nicolas was a real historical person. He was a bishop born in Patara (today in Turkey I guess) in the IIIrd Century.

Based on the legend once bishop Nicolas got informed about a poor family where the daughters were forced into prostitution to get enough money for their marriage. He realized that like this the girls will never get married in a respectful way so Nicolas threw golden coins to the ladies through the window saving their morals like this.

Thats the root of the tradition ..and thats why children put their shoes into the windows hoping they will get a present from St. Nicolas.....or as we call him....from Mikulás.

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One Response to Santa in Hungary

kris said...

very interesting insight, Zsolt. Do you have any personal experience of receiving krampusz? hahaha! I knew that one guy put mp3 in his daughter's boots, how cool is that?!


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