CEDAR RAPIDS – Holiday traditions came to life in Czech Village this weekend, with a Svatý Mikuláš celebration and the Old World Christmas Market.
Both are patterned after festivities in the Czech Republic.
Related: Photos of CzechFest and Goulash Day
The eve of Svatý Mikuláš, known as St. Nicholas in the United States, typically takes place on Dec. 5 in places that observe the Czech tradition. Costumed performers dressed as Svatý Mikuláš, along with an anděl, the Czech word for angel, and čert, a devil, walk the streets to hand out candy to children who have been good or a raw potato or piece of coal for those on the naughty list.
Members of the Czech School Board explained how the holidays are celebrated in the Czech Republic and taught the audience Friday at Aces & Eights Saloon how to count down from 10 to 1 in Czech, for the lighting of the Czech Village Christmas tree, and how to say Veselé Vánoce – Merry Christmas – in Czech.
The Czech Heritage Singers also entertained the audience, while cookies – another Czech holiday tradition – were given to attendees.
Svatý Mikuláš, the anděl, and čert, and members of the Czech Heritage Foundation Czech Royal Court, led a candlelight procession to the Kosek Bandstand, for the lighting of the Christmas tree.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Old World Christmas Market attracted shoppers to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
The market, featuring live music and family activities, along with vendors who sell specialty imports and handmade gifts, is a nod to the Prague Christmas markets, held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslaus Square in the Czech Republic.
See more photos from both Cedar Rapids events, below: