I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and to get back into my routine I discovered some interesting cultural differences between Slovenian and Canadian Christmas traditions. Of course, this little blurb is more for our (few) Canadian readers, but our Slovenian readers might find this interesting as well.
Okay, I focused more on mythological figures rather than actual cultural practices, but I did notice one thing: I found that Slovenians tend to celebrate more on Christmas Eve than on Christmas Day. Some felt it was "too late" to wish us Merry Christmas on the actual day.
St. Nicholas, or Miklavž, is accompanied by Krampus, a devilish character brandishing a length of chain. Krampus is disciplinary in nature, punishing children who misbehave during the year. He is Miklavž's foil - one rewards, and the other . . . well, not so much. In North America, kids get coal in their stocking rather than receive a lashing from a demonic apparition. Personally, I'm partial to Krampus. Mixing terror and treats is more interesting than saccharine sentimentalism.
Dedek Mraz, otherwise known as Grandpa Frost, is another figure who appears during the holidays. Dedek Mraz has some significant differences from St. Nicholas: he's thinner, wears a grey coat and dormouse cap, and delivers presents on New Year's Eve.
There you have it.