December 6th is Szent Mikulás (St. Nicolas) Day in Hungary. This is the day that Hungary and most other European countries celebrate St. Nicolas. I love it that he is separated from Christmas Day, and after the 6th there is no more Santa Claus. In Hungary children put their boots out and wake to find sweets in them.
I found out that the óvoda was going to have a St. Mikulás come on the 6th and do a celebration, so I asked if I could take pictures. The teachers were excited about that and asked if they could have my pictures to put on the class website too.
St. Mikulás arrived to the children sitting in their chairs. One of the teachers gave him a wrapped book. He read from this book. I have no idea what it was or what he was reading other than it was fairly long and there were things that the kids responded to.
Then, while St. Mikulás was there, some of the children played some different types of games and had some sayings that they did. Ethan said that he hadn’t seen the children do these things before, so we were both pretty clueless.After the games each of the kids got to come get a present out of St. Mikulás’ bag. Unfortunately he called on Ethan to be the first kid to come get a present. Normally, this would probably be exciting for a kid, but Ethan usually watches what the other kids do in order to know what to do himself. He understood St. Mikulás telling him to come, so he did and he figured out to take a gift, but I could tell that he wasn’t real sure what was going on.
After St. Mikulás left, the kids had a snack (which wasn’t the normal fruit, but sweet and salty things).I’m including a picture on here of the snack time because I think a few things concerning this are interesting in the Hungarian culture. One is that the sweet foods and salty foods are always separated. They aren’t put on a plate together. Secondly, it’s just put in the middle of a table and the kids just reach for it (as you can see Ethan doing above) and eat it, instead of having their own plates. And this way of doing things continues into elementary school from what friends have told me. In fact when I have the women from my Body & Soul exercise class to my house for parties, they always stay in the kitchen standing around the food, even when it could be taken in the next room where they could sit.
These are Ethan’s three teachers: Eszter néni, Zsofi néni, and Andi néni. Néni means aunt, but that is what is used at the end of all of the teachers’ names. (In Hungarian, the names come before the titles.) The two on the left are Ethan’s teachers. They rotate each week with one working in the mornings and the other in the afternoons, and then they overlap from 11:00-1:00. The one on the far right is probably best described as an aid. She doesn’t do any of the teaching but helps the kids with certain things. She is also the one who cuts up the fruit for snack, etc.