Two men dressed up in costumes of Swiss Santa Samichlaus and his helper Schmutzli

Swiss Santa aka Samichlaus

Even after moving to Switzerland, our children haven´t been deprived of St.Nicholas. In Switzerland, this tradition is also honored, although, of course, a little bit differently.


The Swiss call St.Nicholas “Samichlaus” (or “Samichlous”) and he set out to visit children not from the North Pole, but from a cottage in the woods. Instead of the devil, it is a Schmutzli and a donkey who accompany him (in German schmutzig = dirty). Schmutzli carries a bag for naughty children like the devil in the Czech Republic, but instead of rattling chain threatens the children with a wicker whisk.


Samichlaus gives presents (sweets, fruit, and nuts) into children´s shoes, which are prepared in front of the door. We did it similarly, but with the difference that we made sure to put the shoe on the balcony. Even though we know that in Switzerland, things aren´t stolen, only moved (people here normally leave untied front wheels or barbecues and garden furniture on an unfenced yard) and as Czechs, we still have a distrust deeply rooted. But despite Samichlaus found our children´s shoes and brought even some gifts 🙂

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Hana Hurábová

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