Mikuláš (St. Nicholas), Devil and Angel Visited Children in Strasbourg
The night before the day of St. Mikuláš is celebrated in the Czech Republic a traditional Mikuláš gathering took place at the residence of the Czech Ambassador Tomáš Boček. Czech and Slovak families living in the Alsace region were invited for a traditional celebration.
The residence filled with about a hundred of excited guests expecting the arrival of a well-known trio. Both small children and the older ones sang carols or recited a poem for the respectable Mikuláš, beautiful Angel and forbidding Devil. For their bravery, the children received a sweet and fruity reward. Only the Devil left alone with an empty sack for mischievous children.
Mikuláš is said to be a bishop, believed to be born around 250 A.D., connected with generosity and helping the poor. Traditionally, Czech children received Mikuláš, Angel and Devil at home, played by family members or friends. They go house by house seeking children, who are often a bit scared by the sight of the trio, and ask them about if they´ve been good or bad over the last year and whether they can sing or recite. Good behavior is rewarded with sweets and fruits; bad behavior is punished with a piece of coal or a potato. Different variants of St. Nicholas celebrations are known in Central Europe but also in Germany and the Netherlands. In the Czech Republic in particular, the arrival of Mikuláš signals the start of advent and Christmas time.