BABY JESUS BRINGS THE GIFTS
so christmas in hungary is divided up into basically two celebrations: santa claus day on december 6th and then the christmas festivities on the 24th-25th.
i didn’t realize that the hungarian version of saint nicholas day (or, as he’s called here — (szent) miklós) was a thing until i casually made mention to my coworker dia how excited i was to see all the santa candy out and how surprised i also was to see so many people wearing santa hats casually around town. it turned out that santa day (as i call it haha) was just a few days away and everybody here was getting PUMPED for good ol’ miklós to leave presents in peoples shoes on the night of december 5th (similar to the tradition of stockings in the US). it’s a huge thing here for kids and families: everyone runs around in santa hats, the christmas markets are filled, and there are even opportunities to meet santa’s helpers around town (much like seeing santa at the mall in the states). LOVE IT!
a few interesting things to note though, in regards to santa day here: 1) there is no mrs. claus (which is quite tragic), and 2) when jolly saint nick gives out his little gifts he’s not alone, but is accompanied by a krampusz demon-like creature who punishes all of the bad children.. so that’s fun haha.
after hearing about santa day, i was then confused. if santa brings gifts to kids on the 6th of december, then who brings the gifts to kids on christmas? yet again, i turned to my wonderful coworker dia (who seems to never tire of my constant stream of questions, thankfully!) and she gave me a surprised expression. “baby jesus brings the gifts! baby jesus and the angels,” she told me in a very matter of fact tone, as if i should have know better. i immediately started cracking up in the midst of our very full metro car. to me the idea was hilarious, mostly because of the fantastic imagery of a baby zooming around in the sky with a huge bag of gifts in tow, surrounded by twinkling angels in the sky. in my head, i simply replaced all the US-style santa pictures with a stereotypical american motif of baby jesus and the idea was amazinggggg.
dia didn’t understand why i found this all so amusing and so i explained to her how, in the states, the imagery of santa delivering presents is found everywhere, and i was chuckling at the thought of seeing the same types of images just with baby jesus popped in there instead — which is when she laughed and told me that there is no such imagery like this in hungary. there are no drawings or cartoons of baby jesus soaring over small snow-covered villages, tossing gifts out of his baby bag and bringing joy to all the little children. no, here baby jesus stays in his manger and apparently dictates orders to the angels who then go on delivery runs for him.. which is still pretty great i guess haha.
anyway — the point of this whole story is that there is a huge market for amusing jesus-as-santa-delivering-presents type motifs here in hungary and yet it doesn’t exist at all. people in hungary are missing outttt! this could be a huge hit, i’m telling ya’. somebody please create something like this and send it to me! it will make my day.