Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 4: Samichlaus & Schmutzli

Christmas Advent Day 4: Samichlaus

In 2 days, Samichlaus is coming!!! YEAHHH! Oh, you don't know who Samichlaus is? What rock have you been living under, eh? In Switzerland, the fat guy with the red coat and white beard is known as "Samichlaus" and instead of coming on the 24th, he comes out a bit early in Switzerland on the 6th, (because you know, he is busy on the 24th and all) and he usually comes out during the day. Why you ask?

Well, he comes out during the day because he has to do the rounds with this black clad dude named "Schmutzli" who doesn't do the night shift. Schmutzli wears a black hood and has a grey beard and is the ying to Samichlaus' yang. If the kids have been good throughout the year, they get sweets and nuts and fruit from Samichlaus. And if they have been bad, Schmutzli steps in and smudges their faces with coal. Um. No joke.

And guess what!? In Switzerland the parents tell Samichlaus the details in Parent-Samichlaus meetings held in advance... very specific details, too, so that Samichlaus can whip them out and scare the kids by knowing about all their dirty (or good) deeds throughout the year...sneaky Samichlaus....

Samichlaus & Schmutzli made their appearances at the cathedral in Einsiedeln over the weekend... Samichlaus, representing the good, got to go on the alter with the priest and Schmutzli had to stay on the floor with the other plebeians. Coincidental? I think not.

For more info, read here. One of my favorite blogs, Swiss Family Mac, also wrote about Samichlaus & Schmutzli recently - check it out!


Bluefish said...

European Christmas is far more interesting than North America's. All we do is shop shop shop, without knowing the true meaning of the holiday.

rösti said...

Next time you are at Einseideln make sure to stay for the Benedictine monks doing the chanting of Vespers and Salve Regina (usually 16:30) - really quite cool!


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