Czech Christmas in Hong Kong 2007
No other time of the year is associated with as many traditions in the Czech Republic as Christmas.
One of the most common symbols of the pre-Christmas period is the Advent wreath. It is generally made by tying together evergreen branches, which are then decorated with ribbons, pinecones and other trinkets. Around the wreath are placed four candles, each representing one of the four weeks of the Advent period. In this way, Christians await the coming of their Savior. This year, the first day of Advent is December 2. Every Sunday a new candle is lit, so that by the end of Advent all four candles are burning. For Christians, this light is a symbol of the coming of Jesus Christ; however the tradition is also kept by those who are simply looking forward to Christmas.
St. Nicholas and the devil
The feast of St. Nicholas (or sv. Mikuláše) is enthusiastically celebrated in the Czech Republic. On the eve of the feast day, December 5th, St. Nicholas comes to visit children with a devil who is given the authority to scare them. Children should recite a poem or sing a song before they are asked by St. Nicholas whether they have been naughty or nice. Finally, St. Nicholas gives children a small gift, usually sweets and fruit, if they promise to be good. Disobedient children on the other hand, receive either a potato or a piece of coal... Children need not worry if they didn't see St. Nicholas: All they have to do is hang a stocking in the window and then after dark, St. Nicholas will come and fill it with presents.
St. Nicholas (alias Santa) and his devil at the Consulate in Hong Kong
It may be a little bit scary for the youngest
Members of the Czech comunity in Hong Kong