CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A Czech holiday known as Svatý Mikuláš was marked a few days early in Czech Village.
The tradition, known in the United States as St. Nicholas Day, is celebrated in the Czech Republic on Dec. 6.
Czech Village in Cedar Rapids has long held its annual celebration on the first Friday of December, which fell on Dec. 2 in 2022.
Festivities started in Hospoda, a pizzeria at 62 16th Ave. SW, where the Czech Village Association and Czech Heritage Foundation hosted the Svatý Mikuláš celebration, featuring cookies and a presentation about Czech holiday traditions by Pam Lewis of Czech Village Antiques.
Costumed performers dressed as Svatý Mikuláš (St. Nicholas) along with an anděl, the Czech word for angel, and čert, or devil, traditionally hand out candy to children who have been good or a rotten potato for those on the naughty list.
The group moved outdoors to the Kosek Bandstand for a countdown in Czech from 10 to 1 — deset, devět, osm, sedm, šest, pět, čtyři, tři, dva, jeden — and the lighting of the Christmas trees.
Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa Audrey Mickelson and her mother, Theresa Mickelson, led the crowd in carols.
Other events this weekend include the Old World Christmas Market at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4.
Learn about other Czech holiday traditions and see more photos from the Czech Village celebration: