Saint Milukas visited on Monday evening. My father immigrated from the Czech Republic in 1969 and he brought a wealth of stories and traditions. When I was a child, Saint Mikulas started the Christmas season. We left our socks on the windowsill and waited for Saint Mikulas to visit with his angel and Cert (devil).
Look closely at the left-hand side. Yikes! I don't know why the Cert always has his tongue sticking out. I need to research that part of the story. My image search found most of the Certs had tongues out. Nah, nah, na-na, nah!
I also don't know what are my dad's ideas and what is really Czech tradition, but my dad said that the angel would tell all the good things that you did during the year and the Cert would tell the bad things. Whoever had more to say determined the gift in your sock. We usually got mittens, a mandarin orange, and a candy bar. Big treats in my childhood :)
The cool thing, and this was a really cool thing, was that Mikulas visited before bedtime. We lived at the end of a dirt road with very few neighbors. Still, my parents recruited the neighbors for a big job. Saint Mikulas knocked on windows. I don't know if this tradition happens other places or if my dad was the instigator, but that feeling of sitting in the house, with our parents, and hearing knocking on the windows when it's dark and cold outside . . . that was strong magic. It was amazing and scary and so fun.
And now . . . I'm the parent. Past years, my parents came to the house. We learned very quickly to make the Cert a very minor character in the story. My own children are terrified of him. The knocking was very gentle for awhile. This year, it was really cold so my husband went for a night-time 'walk'. His knocking was pretty loud. The kids wouldn't check their socks until I went with them :)
Very excited though, to go check!
My updated tradition is that Saint Mikulas brings a Playmobil advent calendar. This year is the Knights Jousting Tournament. And Playmobil has a Saint Nikolas and Angel! So Mikulas (Czech spelling) had to bring that.
Probably better that they didn't include the Cert. :)
And last night, Ian kept saying, "I hear knocking. I hear knocking, Mommy." And he picked up a random sock off of the floor to check for chocolate kisses. :)
Myself, I like our Cert ornament the best. He's been around since my childhood and he's not scary to me. I'd offer him hot chocolate with cinnamon. Maybe next year, we'll leave some out for our mysterious visitors.
Another magical time for family traditions, old and new :)