Day 18 of Advent: Ježíšek or Santa Claus Brings Presents?

Joyful Christmas is celebrated in almost all countries around the world! The period and process depend on cultural and religious customs. Who gives presents on Christmas Eve in the Czech Republic? One of the traditional symbols of Czech Christmas is Ježíšek, in English “Christ Child”, who brings Christmas presents and places them for children under the Christmas tree.

Ježíšek in Czechia

Certain clues about Ježíšek with Christmas presents come from the 17th century. There was a short mention from the calendar of Šimon Partlic, where it was written that children receive presents from their parents on Christmas Eve. However, this tradition was not fully accepted until the 19th century. At that time, people imagined Ježíška either as a kind of angelic figure or an invisible Baby Jesus. Traditionally today, Ježíšek brings presents on Christmas Eve after the first star appears in the sky. He places Christmas presents under a decorated tree without anyone actually seeing him.

Ježíšek thus brings Christmas presents to us in the Czech Republic, in southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland or Slovakia. From non-European countries, it grants in southern Brazil for example.

Jesus Child in Bethlehem
Baby Jesus in Bethlehem

Santa Claus

The figure of a bearded man known as Sinterklaas was brought to the USA by the Dutch in the 17th century. It became a symbol of Christmas only after 1809 when the writer Washington Irving Americanized into Santa Claus in his book History of New York. In his first drawings, he resembled a fat Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green coat. In the middle of the 19th century, Santa Claus became more involved in society and became the main symbol of Christmas in the USA. The red coat of Santa Claus was dressed in 1863 by the illustrator Thomas Nast, who was also the first to mark the North Pole as his home. In the 20th century, Santa Claus was known around the world, which was greatly aided by Coca Cola’s Christmas commercials.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa Claus still appears in advertisements, the well-known red Santa hat is sold in stores in the Czech Republic and the locals already take it as a symbol of Christmas. Lots of Christmas Americans movies are on TV, where we also see a bearded gentleman in a red suit. So we are still surrounded by his figure, some people for example decorate their balcony with a climbing Santa Claus, but we do not give up on our tradition. Ježíšek has been, is and always will be with us at Christmas in the Czech Republic. Follow our blog, seven more Czech traditions are coming soon.

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Iveta Sáblíková

Hi everyone, My name is Iveta and I am currently a new PR and Marketing Intern at Foreigners Brno. I am 22 years old and I was born & raised in a small town in the Czech Republic. I am obsessed with traveling and languages - so I decided to move to the UK, where I am completing a bachelor's degree in tourism and events management. I'm really looking forward to starting writing articles for you and I really hope you will enjoy this journey with me.

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