Santas, santas, everywhere?
You may have noticed the profusion of little chocolate models of Father Christmas or Mikulás, all over the country recently. In Hungary, these will be especially popular before December 6th, the day of St Nicholas/Mikulás. This is when Santa comes to visit Hungary, leaving gifts and sweet treats for good boys and girls.

Traditional differences: Mikulás and Father Christmas

The Hungarian version of Father Christmas is Hungary's archetypal image of the festive season. He is called Mikulás and is quite similar to St Nicholas, the original figure for Father Christmas. Here however, he comes to visit on the evening of 5th December, bringing chocolates, fruits, sweets and small gifts to good children who take good care of their things. Boots and shoes must be cleaned, polished and put out (normally on the windowsill) for him to inspect. In fact the sweets and gift are normally left IN the boots. As December 6th approaches, you may note an eruption of chocolate mini-santas in sweetshops, supermarkets and of course, at the Christmas markets. These chocolate figures will be of variable quality, but if you stick to brand-name chocolates you generally can't go wrong.

At other times during this season, when Father Christmas makes a personal appearance, (for example at malls, schools or office family parties) he normally appears as an old man in the robes of a bishop, accompanied by one or more mischievous elves known as Krampusz. Children are often rounded up by the elves and may have to sing a song in order to receive a little present.


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