Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mikulas Nap

December 6th is a big day in Hungary for all the children. It is Mikulas Nap (Santa Day). Last night children cleaned a boot or shoe and placed it in the window. Mikulas (MEEK-u-lash) came during the night and put candy inside it. If they were bad children they got sticks. Mikulas travels with a couple of devil looking guys that put the twigs in.
Today Mikulas will visit the schools, kindergartens, hospitals, malls, anywhere that children might be. He will give out szalon cukor (brightly wrapped chocolates) and wish everyone "Kellemes Karacsonyt and Boldog Uj Evet!" (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year). It is a day that brings a smile to even the grumpiest of people.
What about Christmas day? The gifts that children in Hungary find under their tree on Christmas Eve were placed there by Baby Jesus and his angels. The children are distracted for a couple of hours, until they hear a bell ring. Then they are allowed into the main room of the house where they find a fully decorated tree and gifts. For the next two days (we have Christmas Eve, Christmas Day 1, and Christmas Day 2) they visit with family and eat big meals of fish soup, turkey, and special Christmas bread called begli. Life in Hungary...

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