Wednesday, December 5, 2007

St Mikolaš Day

So today is a bit of an event here in the Czech Republic. On this day the jolly old saint strolls about the streets with and Angel and a Demon. Children flock to them, some with excitement, others with tears in their eyes, to have their goodness or evil rewarded. For good little children, especially those who manage to stammer out a Christmas poem, or quaver through a Christmas song, a gift awaits them in the hands of the Angel. For those who haven't quite managed to keep themselves under control for the past year, and who fail to perform, a potato or coal is delivered to them by the Demon. I haven't done all the research, and none of my students have really managed to give me a full history of the day, but I find it rather fascinating.
Just now I went to the grocery store downstairs and watched as the children lined up around the highly decorated trio. There were children in tears, especially one little boy of about 8. He seemed aware of his own depravity. Something we could probably all learn from. Others bore giant grins, certain that something pleasant would soon be delivered to them. What an interesting commentary on life. It seems that so often, as we grow older, we lose the fear of our failings and the joy of our strengths. We manage to pass them off as part of life, forgetting to measure them up as the days go by. These children, however, are very aware of how they have been living. Just something to make us all think a bit.
Apparently I missed out on the excitement of the morning when three of our students dressed up and performed this ritual with the students. Sometimes I do miss out a bit on not being here every morning, but I really can't complain as I do enjoy having those days to sleep in.

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