While visiting Prague with my mom in November, we noticed something a little unusual when we popped into a local market to grab a few things — a big display of foil-wrapped chocolate devils. Seriously. Right next to the Santas, a bunch of these little devils with their wicked little tongues sticking out …
At first we thought they might have been left over from Halloween, except, there were tons of them and they weren’t marked down or discounted as you’d expect to see a treat that is no longer in season. We noticed these devils pop up in a few more places, so we asked our Viking Cruise Program Director, Radim, “What’s up with all the devils?” (Displayed below, the “hairy goat” devil”)
Turns out, there is a special holiday observed on December 5th in the Czech Republic, Saint Nicholas Day. Traditionally, in small villages, adults would dress up in costumes as St. Nicholas, The Devil, and an Angel. The trio would walk from door-to-door to ask parents if their children had been good that year. (These guys below have decorated their pitch forks with holly.)
Apparently, hearing this trio come around was quite scary for kids growing up as the Devil would look pretty realistic and if your parents said you’d been naughty, you’d have to sing a song for forgiveness. (Boy, if only the kids here in the USA afraid of a jolly white-bearded Santa only knew.)
In the end, the children are typically given sweets and the trio is treated some schnapps. One things for sure, I bet those kids are on their best behavior for the rest of the month until Santa comes around!
Are there any unusual holiday traditions you’ve seen around the world? Share them with us below!