Saturday, 6 December 2008

St Nicholas eve in Cesky krumlov

Tonight was the St Nicholas eve celebration - eat your heart out Halloween, the Czechs have their own tradition which features the coming of St Nicholas with his devil and his angel. A night much looked forward to by the children here: though for the little ones it is a night of trepidation and excitement mixed, as St Nicholas comes bearing presents if you were good during the past year, but then there's also the devil to threaten you if you weren't! Lucky the angel's there to keep the devil from getting too dangerous!
And so, while the little ones are kept as long as it is at all possible in believing this Czech version of Santa, the festival is a great night of fun for all the bigger kids, and actually probably mostly for the grown-ups who love to dress up and roam the streets. You should see some of the angels with beards and beer-bellies in their white nighties - quite a sight :-)
So Krumlov town, like all the other places in Czecho, comes alive with markets, mulled wine, sausages, and a show for the kids at the Square, followed by a free for all. St Nicholases of all description wonder about with their weird retinue, devils chase giggling women, children shriek with delight, and in the end most people end up in the town's pubs - a surreal sight seeing 'civilians' mingle by the bar with the heavenly characters.
Well, we ended up in the Gypsy tavern - a great place to celebrate, with much music and noise and the beer flowing freely. So here are a few pics to share with you - though there's nothing like being there in flesh, I promise.
(no, this is not us :-)

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