Traditionally, Santa Claus (Mikulás) visits the homes of Hungarian children on the night of the 5th of December, the eve of Saint Nicholas Feast Day, which is celebrated on December 6. While the role of gift-giver on Christmas Day is assigned to the Christ Child, on the night before St. Nicholas Day, Hungarian children engage in a charming tradition. They clean their shoes and place them on the windowsill, eagerly awaiting Mikulás to fill them with treats.
On the evening before St. Mikulás day, children prepare by cleaning their shoes and placing them on the windowsill. Following tradition, Mikulás secretly leaves little bags filled with tasty treats inside the shoes for children to discover when they wake up in the morning. These delightful gifts may include chocolate Mikulás figures, candies, oranges, peanuts, and ‘szaloncukor’—a special Hungarian chocolate sweet traditionally hung on Christmas trees in Hungary.
For those children who may have behaved naughtily, Mikulás may leave them a ‘virgács,’ a pile of gold-coloured birch twigs. Interestingly, there is no Mrs. Mikulás in Hungary. Instead, Mikulás is often accompanied by an assistant known as ‘Krampusz.’ This fearful, devilish creature is typically represented with horns and long fur and is responsible for giving ‘virgács’ to mischievous kids.”