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Keith and I are picking up to move to Pécs, Hungary for one year. He has never been to Europe and the furthest east I've been is Switzerland.... Our Hungarian language skills are...well, we know some phrases. Come follow us on our adventure!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Mikulás

Last night, St. Mikulás/Santa Claus left goodies in the boots of the Hungarian children--the gift giving on Christmas is the duty of baby Jesus or the angels. I though it was only that simple, but it turns out it is a bit more complex and there are more characters involved...

St. Mikulás also has a sinister elf friend, Krampusz. In Hungary's neighboring countries, like Croatia, Krampusz is portrayed as a devil figure...in Hungary, Krampusz is portrayed as mischievous rather than evil devil, wearing a black suit, a long red tongue, with a tail and little red horns. The Krampusz wields a Virgács, bunch of golden coloured twigs bound together. Hungarian parents often frighten children with getting a Virgács instead of presents, if they do not behave. By the end of November, you can buy all kinds of Virgács on the streets, usually painted gold, bound by a red ribbon. Getting a Virgács is rather more fun than frightening, and is usually given to all children, along with presents to make them behave.

Anyways, prior to really knowing this story, I received virgács and a chocolate Santa from my boss. I thought, "Oh, what pretty golden twigs...why did Eszter give this to me?" I took a closer look at this chocolate santa and saw that it looked more like a devil, and was then informed of sir Krampusz and the switch he gives to bad little girls....or more so now, as jokes....especially to people who don't believe/don't know the cultural tradition.......

Me after I found out the meaning of Virgács

I wish I knew this before I filled Keith's shoes with chocolates and a bottle of his favorite Hungarian beer....well, I guess I can always regift my twigs next year. :-) Or perhaps, I really did deserve the virgács...and Keith was a good boy.......doubt it ;-)



Keith's St. Mikulás Treats

Then later today, St. Mikulás came to my kindergarten!!! Only 3 of the 8 kids who where there today cried...poor Marcelo and Emi, who were so hysterical they were shaking....Keith did a great performance, even if the costume was mediocre...I think at least one of my students was on to him and his disguise....but Zéti was convinced and I think Mariana enjoyed it too (even if she too was a bit suspicious)

Here are video clips from today's events!

video

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