We have hardly noticed and December is already here. For children in particular it means that St. Nicholas, after a full year of hard work of preparing toys and gifts, is finally ready to travel and bring the joy and gifts to all deservig children.
Calgary has the advantage of being closer to the North Pole than most places in the world, thus St. Nicholas traditionally visits our city among the first. The members of the Slovak School in Calgary, the Slovak Library and the Branch 65 of the Canadian Slovak League have beautifully prepared and decorated a hall at the St. Gerard Catholic Church, which also hosts the Slovak masses. Skilful young people also prepared traditional homemade products such as wafers, gingerbread, wreaths and small gifts for the Christmas market, since we will soon celebrate another great feast - Jesus' birthday. And for snacks, excellent cabbage soup, hot dogs, juices, and all beverages for children and adults, including the slivovica and pear brand were available at the bar. All proceeds went to support the Slovak School.
Children's dance ensemble Slniečko opened the program with a medley of songs, dances and Christmas games, accompanied by the live music from the Slnečnica Folk Dace Group, and the program was excellent.
Suddenly, everyody heard the bells of the reindeer sled, and St. Nicholas entered the hall, bearing plenty of gifts. He knew very well our Slovak customs and so, unlike the Canadian Santas, he brought along an angel and a devil. The devil was not needed at all, because no child was so bad to deserve a piece of coal instead of a gift, but one never knows.
Children, parents, guests and St. Nicholas spent the afternoon with the Slovaks in Calgary and their best reward was to see joy in the eyes of children, and the opportunity to establish new friendships.
This wonderful event could not be held without the selfless work of many volunteers, including Renáta Jelínková, Frank and Majka Kilo, Eva Hadzima, Juro Slivka, Zorka Ryban, and many others, and of course the great dancers and musicians from the Slniečko and Slnečnica ensembles.
St. Nicholas and the Calgary Slovaks wish you a blessed and pleasant Christmas that you may experience in happiness, health and joy, among your family and woderful friends.
Text and photos: Paul Carnogursky