Monday, December 10, 2007

Three Times The Fun

Couldn't stay away for long....

Just wanted to write a bit about something I recently learned, and something that-- unfortunately--may take many of my American readers by surprise. It turns out that instead of just one plump and rosy-cheeked wintertime gift-giver, Slovenia has three jolly old men who come baring gifts during the holidays. Allow me to introduce...


(pictures taken from this site, in Slovene)

The first one is Miklavz aka St. Nicholas. He's the unofficial Catholic patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students in many European countries, known as a notoriously generous gift-giver, and he has his own day earlier in the month. This year it was observed in Slovenia on 3rd6th December.


The second one is Božiček aka Father Christmas...Yes, you heard me right, American readers, St. Nick is NOT Father Christmas (don't even ask who in the heck Kris Kringle is, no one around these parts knows the guy). Though Father Christmas and St. Nicholas share the same spirit of giving, they are actually two different dudes. I couldn't really get much of the skinny on this guy, but no one is aking many questions since he reliably drops the good stuff off every 25th December.

you heard me right...

The last guy is Dedek Mraz aka Grandpa Frosty and I'm told that this is the only guy who was handing out anything during Communism times (St. Nick and old Božiček, presumably, being deemed too lavish for those simpler times and shipped off for reeducation at Goli Otok or some other gulag situation). According to the Wiki entry for old Gramps, he was originally imported from Communist Russia and fashioned to be a non-religious, generic, wintertime gift-giver. He generally presents his gifts on New Year's Day. Though Communism has been given the boot over the last almost 20 years, Dedek has managed to hang around, and as you can see from the above photo, those years in exile don't seem to have soured the other two guys against him.

3 comments:

Anja said...

Nice post!

I think the reason why Dedek Mraz was the only gifts giver in the old times, is because there wasn't any religious connotation with him. Anyway, he's my favourite, mostly because he's not wearing the Coca-Cola suit and I was one of the last kids, who were brought up with him as the main guy.

As for Miklavž, it always falls on the 6th of December, since the name Miklavž is the name day on the calender on the 6th.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the summary...I totally didn't get the Santa/St Nick difference until you mentioned. The procession on the 6th was cool (the xmas lights were turned on the 3rd of Dec) with fire breathing devils leading the saint over the bridge, at least what I saw of it from my (bad) vantage point. There were some v. tall daddies with kids on their shoulders in front of me. :)

DMB said...

Oh wow. Who knew??