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Sv. Mikuláš



Sv. Mikuláš
Originally uploaded by youplayawhat.
Last Monday many people here recognized the saint's day of St. Nicholas. When I walked through town during the day I noticed a few processions of the saint (carrying his shepherd's hook and usually a bell), followed by a devil (usually black-faced), and sometimes accompanied by an attendant or two. The festivities are mostly for children. The saint and his entourage stop at houses and usually hand out a small gift. (That is, if the child has been "good.")

I helped out at a community center for environmental education. During most of the evening children circulated between various tables where they could partake in activities--making a christmas card, weaving on a loom, sawing shapes in wood. The highlight of the evening was St. Nicholas's visit. We all gathered in the central room after hearing the procession's approaching bell. The bearded St. and the devil went through the "Book of Sins" (e.g., irritating your teacher, not cleaning your ears, not doing what your mother tells you to do, or picking on your classmates), and asked if they had been good. Many of the kids were laughing and admitting to being "bad." At the end we all sang "Bethlehem," a popular carol with the accompaniment of the young violinist who accompanied this procession. It was a fun evening.

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