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Sweets in Shoes - old Polish tradition on December 6 (Mikolaj)?


Barney 15 | 1,476
5 Dec 2011 #1
Who's getting sweets in their shoes tomorrow?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,385
5 Dec 2011 #2
no-one in this house.

to be honest i've never heard of it before. doesn't mean it doesn't happen though.
OP Barney 15 | 1,476
5 Dec 2011 #3
I was told today about this tradition today it’s to celebrate Saint Nicholas day. It sounded like a good tradition that kids would look forward to, perhaps it’s regional (Wielkopolska). I assumed it was country wide
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
5 Dec 2011 #4
You can hide the sweets anywhere, though shoes are a popular option. The idea is that kids wake up tomorrow and check to see whether Saint Nicholas brought them anything. If they were bad, you might consider throwing in a potato or some coals for good measure. ;-)

I can still remember how exciting it was to wake up early on the 6th (you couldn't sleep because of the excitement) and start rummaging around your room trying to locate the goodies. These would be largely symbolic, like some oranges or walnuts, sweets, or maybe a new ornament for the Christmas tree... but lots of fun :-)
wwwpolyglotocom 1 | 21
5 Dec 2011 #5
Isn't it actually sweets in socks? :) I believe it is country wide as I know quite a few people from different parts of Poland and they are familiar with this tradition. But to be honest, I have never heard anyone from other country than Poland to follow this tradition. I think it is like a foretaste before Christmas and it makes you realize that it’s about time you should start preparing for a big day :)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
5 Dec 2011 #6
It was never socks when I was little. And I am 100% sure that Czechs also have this tradition. The idea was to really HIDE the goodies nice and proper! :-)
strzyga 2 | 993
5 Dec 2011 #7
I usually found mine under or next to the pillow. And no socks either. Aren't the socks a British Christmas tradition?
boletus 30 | 1,366
5 Dec 2011 #8
I believe it is country wide as I know quite a few people from different parts of Poland

Traditions are usually observed in countryside, not in the cities.
Courtesy of Polish Wikipedia (The English one focuses on other parts) and my hasty translation:

Saint Nicholas (Polish: Św. Mikołaj), Bishop of Myra, because of the deeds attributed by the legend (including distributing all his property to the poor), was the prototype of a dealer of gifts to children. Depicted as an old man with a magnificent beard, often in the miter and crosier, with a sack of gifts and a bunch of rods in his hand. He brings gifts to good children (usually sweets) and rods to the naughty, as the warning, on December 6 (the anniversary of the Saint's death).

(…)
One legend has it that a man who fell into poverty, decided to sell his three daughters to a brothel. When the bishop learned of this he threw three purses of money in the chimney at night. They fell into stockings and the shoes that these daughters have put at the fireplace to dry. Hence, in countries where it is common to use fireplaces, children put their shoes and socks near the fireplace. Where fireplaces are not used, St. Nicolas quietly slips gifts under the pillows of sleeping babies.

(...)
In most of Poland it is Sw. Mikołaj that brings gifts on December 6.
In Wielkopolska, Kujawy, Kashubia and Western Pomerania gifts for Christmas traditionally brings "Gwiazdor", in Małopolska - Little Angel, in Upper Silesia - Little Jesus. Which I did not know; in my family Św. Mikołaj worked double shift.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
6 Dec 2011 #9
Traditions are usually observed in countryside, not in the cities.

???
Care to explain what you meant by that? I'm more or less a city girl, and yet have observed a multitude of traditions, incl. 6th Dec.

In Wielkopolska, Kujawy, Kashubia and Western Pomerania gifts for Christmas traditionally brings "Gwiazdor", in Małopolska - Little Angel, in Upper Silesia - Little Jesus.

The Baby Jesus brings Christmas gifts to Czech children as well. I always had St. Nicholas bring my 6th Dec. gifts, and the Baby Jesus, assisted by angels, would bring me my Christmas Eve presents (you had to leave a window open near the tree and leave the room for a bit so they wouldn't be shy) ;-)
pip 10 | 1,660
6 Dec 2011 #10
sweets in shoes is more dutch and german tradition. sweets under pillow is polish.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
6 Dec 2011 #11
I got the sweets in my slippers / shoes, under the pillow, hidden away on the bookcase, or variously arranged in other unexpected places in the room. I think that was the general idea - to have fun looking for them! :-)
boletus 30 | 1,366
6 Dec 2011 #12
Care to explain what you meant by that? I'm more or less a city girl, and yet have observed a multitude of traditions, incl. 6th Dec.

I misread the statement of the previous poster, wwwpolyglotocom, and was trying to explain why the "mikołajki" tradition is more known in countryside than in the cities. Cancel on both accounts, since I really have no data to support such a claim, other then a gut feeling. Sorry for that.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
6 Dec 2011 #13
Sorry for that.

No problem :-)


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