Sveti Miklavž!!

Prešernov Trg, during the Sveti Miklavž (Saint Nicholas) parade and celebration on Dec. 5.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, Meleah and I went to the center (along with all the other children, ha!) for the Sveti Miklavž parade and celebration.

In a rough translation from a worksheet I filled out in class today regarding the holiday: Sveti Miklavž, a.k.a. Saint Nicholas, brings kids presents on the night of Dec. 5, leaving them on window sills, in baskets, or on plates. If you are bad, however, little devils in red and black will visit your house instead of Sveti Miklavž, and leave you a whip (for a spanking), and you would not want that! Sveti Miklavž might leave children apples, oranges, figs, candies, or chocolates. At the store, they sell chocolates of Sveti Miklavž, and you can also buy little devils made of bread in the Christmas market in downtown Ljubljana.

At the Dec. 5 parade, Sveti Miklavž came into Prešernov Trg on a while cloud float, dressed in a gold robe with a tall bishop’s hat, surrounded by angels. Ahead of him in the procession, however, were scary red and black devils, trying to spook all the kids! Some kids wore little flashing devil horns, which you could buy for 5 euros on the side of the road. If they had been less than 5 euros, Meleah and I would have bought some.

In class today, our teacher brought us chocolate-covered figs!

Not only does Slovenia–a predominatly Catholic country–have Sveti Miklavž, but it also has Santa Claus, adopted from popular tradition, and Dedek Mraz, otherwise known as Grandfather Frost. Santa Claus comes on Dec. 25 and is self-explanatory, and Dedek Mraz comes on Dec. 30.

The reason Dedek Mraz exists is that when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, there was no Christmas or day for Sveti Miklavž. So as not to have a December devoid of holidays–but also to avoid religion–Dedek Mraz was invented, who brings presents at the end of December.

Now, in Slovenia, if you’re a kid, you get presents on the morning of Dec. 6, 25, and 30. That’s a pretty good deal!

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