Christmas Eve and Baby Jesus
December 7th, 2007
"Some time before Christmas, Hungarian children have already written their letters to baby Jesus, or "Jézuska," much in the same way American children might write letters to Santa Claus. They tell baby Jesus what presents they want for Christmas. Then they leave their letters, on a windowsill for example, to be
picked up by angel messengers (otherwise known as parents and grandparents!) during the night, while the children are sleeping, to be "delivered" to baby Jesus!
(Some Hungarian-American children in North America have developed a clever twist on this custom - they ask "Jézuska" to bring the usual presents on Christmas Eve, and then the "American Santa" to deliver additional presents for Christmas day!)
In families that follow the Christian tradition, it is not Santa Claus and his reindeer who bring the Christmas presents and drop them off through the chimney overnight, so that children wake up to find them Christmas morning. Rather, it is Baby Jesus - Jézuska - and the angels who bring not only the tree but also gifts for good boys and girls. Usually, on December 24th, Christmas Eve, children are banished for several hours from the room in which the tree will be put up, and the gifts put under it. (If children try to peek, they are warned that they will frighten away Baby Jesus and the angels, who will then fly off quickly, and take all the intended gifts away with them!)
Once the tree and gifts are ready, parents ring a little bell to announce that Baby Jesus - Jézuska - and the angels have come! Children run in excitedly and receive their gifts - and are told, for example, that each gift is from Mommy's Jesus (Anyuka Jézuskája), or Daddy's Jesus (Apuka Jézuskája), Grandmother's Jesus (Nagyanyó Jézuskája), and so on!"
Content was quoted from the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum website. Click on this link for more detailed information on all Christmas traditions: