Mikulás or sometimes referred to as Télapó (Father Winter) is the Hungarian version of St Nicholas that’s basically our version of Santa Claus. For the 6th of December every year children polish their boots the night before and place them on their window or in front of the door waiting for Mikulas to arrive at night to fill their boots with treats by the morning. Children who were ‘good’ all year get sweets and fruit, and children who behaved “bad” or been naughty get a wooden spoon or willow twigs (virgács) often painted gold by Mikulas’ somewhat sinister elf companion, Krampusz.
This will be my almost 3 yrs old daughter’s first encounter with Mikulas that she will really understand (of course she met him before ) and coming from a mixed family of Hungarian- British background it’s getting a little confusing even for me on which story-line to go on and keep for the future, guessing both In Hungary children receive presents on Christmas Eve from the Christ Child (Jezuska) whereas in England and other Western cultures gifts are delivered by Santa Claus or Father Christmas on Christmas Day.
Mikulas will visit children in the daycares and schools but of course there are many opportunities to meet him in our beloved Budapest town this weekend and throughout next week. I have collected the biggest and most popular events but be sure to check your local playhouses and town halls too, I am sure most of them will organise their own Mikulas-day celebration.
- Mikulas will make an appearance at the Vorosmarty ter Christmas Market on 6 December at 3pm. FREE event.
- As part of the Advent Fair by Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park – the Museum of Agriculture has put up several kids programmes. There is a play-house in the Museum called ‘Gingerbread Palace’ (Mezeskalacs Palota) with daily morning activities. ‘Awaiting for Santa’ programme at 10.30am and Mikulas is making an appearance at 12pm and 4pm on 6th Dec and on the 7th of December Finnish Santa will turn up at 4pm . (Tickets to Mezeskalacs Palota cost 1000 HUF for adult, 850 HUF for children, Entry to the Fair and the stage within the Vajdahunyad castle is FREE)
- Mikulas- Gyar – Mikulas Factory is a charity that has been organising a charity drive in the festive season for the 8th year and helped over 250.000 families in extreme poverty. You can buy their own selection of gifts for your children for 2500 Huf per package here or you can give away clothes or used books/ toys but what they need the most is food that keep long. You can send off any donations at Magyar Posta for free with the title MIKULASGYAR and they will send it to Red Cross who redistributes everything. Mikulasgyar also has a series of proprammes and concerts in 56-osok tere (next to Heroes Square) List of programmes here.
- Mikulas Train in the Buda Hills Children’s Railway – 1-2 December. Take a train ride with Mikulas and the elfs. Children get to talk to Santa individually and get a present. 1600 Huf per child. Times and ticket info here.
- Santa Claus at the Railway Museum – Télapó Expressz
Children can take a vintage train hauled by a “Santa Claus” engine to the Railway Museum for an unforgettable day with their parents on 1 and 2 December. Trains go from Nyugati station at 9.30am or 14.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday., ticket 2500 Huf per person. Contact: Erika Hatos firstname.lastname@example.org
- Santas of the World – Adventure Day in Budakeszi Wildlife Park
December 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 11.00, 13.00, 15.00. 1500 Huf per child. Contact: Körmendi Csilla: 0630-531-55-77, email@example.com
- Awaiting for Santa – Family afternoon at the Klebelsberg Cultural Centre in Buda. – 1 December 15-18.00. Concert and puppet show. 500 Huf per child. 1028 Budapest, Templom u. 2-10.
Tour of the museum and Mikulas will make an appearance and give a present to each kid. 5, 6 and 7 December at 14.30 or 17.00. Tickets: 3690 Huf for the under 12s. Contact: +36 1 401 5000 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 1162 Budapest, Bekecs u.22
Andi Lustak was born in Budapest and is a Freelance Technology PR consultant when she is working and a mom of a beautiful 2 years old daughter. Andi studied, worked and lived in London for 9 years before relocating back to Budapest to spend a big chunk of the year in her beloved home city with her British husband. She found Reka’s baby-mommy group when she was only 4 months pregnant in 2009 and met some great friends since through this great community. Baby-free time these days means watching a lot of box sets in the evening, she and her hubby are currently into Mad Man, Homeland and can’t wait for the new seasons of True Blood and Fringe.