That’s the question I keep asking myself every year for the last ten or so years since I moved to the US. How could I miss this wonderful day and night?
Growing up in Prague, Czech Republic, I was deprived of Halloween as we, the Czechs, don’t have anything like this amazing day. Ok, I can just hear the voice of dicontended Czechs saying: “That’s not true. We have carneval and we have the Saint Nicholas Day. We have it!”
First of all, yes, there is something like carneval, that is no way to be confused with the Rio de Janeiro Carneval or the New Orleans one. There are some masked parades walking through villages consisting mainly of adults, yes, they are dressed up but they have to be dressed up as tradition prescribes. Unfotunately this carneval also happens to be celebrated during February, one of the coldest months in the Czech Republic. Well, the cold can also explain why so many of the participants end up so drunk 😉 With all this being said, I didn’t grow up with this tradition as it was being frown upon by the communist regime and it started to revive only in the last ten or so years.
Saint Nicholas Day is being held on the evening of December 5th and yes, it is a great day and fun and I as a kid I kinda liked it. I think I liked the most that I got mandarines and chocolates, keep in mind those were treats for us. I believe that the St. Nicholas Day is also celebrated in Austria and Germany. Adults or adolescents dress up as St. Nicholas, an angel and a devil or chert in Czech and they walk around and give kids sweets and long stocks filled with candies. So basically something like Christmas in America. There is only a small hitch there, as in almost all Czech tradition, and that’s the detail of the devil that mostly “scares the shit out of the little people.” No kidding there! Even my very brave brother was at the tender age of two and half brought to tears when the devil claimed that he will take his mom to hell if my little brother won’t sing a song. Yes, you have to sing a song or recite a poem if you don’t want to go to hell. Maybe a little harsh, but still kinda fun when you are a little older and are so cool to know that nothing will happened to you.
The night of Halloween in Czech is called “Little souls or Dushinchky” and it is definitively no fun, unless you like to go to cemeteries and clean up your family members who rest there. And man it gets spooky too! Don’t forget that we, the Czechs, have a very old cities with a very old cemeteries and once they get all their candles lit it goes spooky and I mean SPOOKY!
Halloween in America on the other hand that’s the right celebration. It’s fun and crazy and insane but mostly it’s awesome. I know I know as a real Czech I should call it a kytch and american silliness but I guess I am not so Czech anymore. It’s so much fun to see the little and not so little people dressed up as anything. The houses, man, the houses are fabulous. I love how some families go over the board and have evrything under the sun and more that would make it more scary and crazy.
And since our little guy was born I am enjoying it even more. I am having so much fun. We all dress up as a family and then go out. If I don’t count the first time when our little guy was a baby and nobody would give me candy for me errr…I meant for him, of course, we always have so many sweets. This year our guy’s pumpkin was so full that it was too heavy for him to carry.
And on top of everything Halloween is amazing for someone who loves taking pictures. Man, there is probably no other day better for doing that!
Shame that the next Halloween is in like 350 days or so…