St. Nicholas

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St Nicholas looking out over the land
Vintage Postcard
St Nicholas Center Collection
Vintage Postcard
Vintage Postcard
St Nicholas Center Collection

In some Slovakian towns and villages, St. Nicholas, or Svaty Mikuláš arrives in a horse drawn coach, accompanied by an angel and a devil who rattles a chain. While waiting, children fill the streets with singing and dancing. St. Nicholas has a present for each child and in some villages he visits each home.

On St. Nicholas Eve children carefully polish their boots to leave on the windowsill or at the doorstep. They hope to find a nice surprise the next morning and not the dreaded coal. Traditional treats include apples, nuts, pears, or an orange.

The evening of St. Nicholas Day older boys dress up as Mikuláš with his companions, an angel and a devil who has chains and wears bells at the waist. The trio visits families with young children, giving more fruit, nuts and candies. Before receiving treats, the children say a prayer or rhyme. In Bratislava the devil might give a potato instead of coal. 

Some schools have a special "Mikul Mail," where children exchange greetings and small presents. There are small gifts for the teachers, too.

Recipe for Biskupsky Chelbicek (Slovakian Bishop's Bread)

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