Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn Christmas

A Slovak's Night before Vianoce

By An Anonymous Slovak Author

A Slovak's Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Vianoce, and all through the house
The Slovaks had gathered To eat sauerkraut.
The kolach was nestled all snug in its dish.
Bobalki was cooking, and so was some fish.

Babushkaed women and men in their caps
Had all settled down with food in their laps.
When out in the lawn there arose such a clatter
We all went to see what was the matter.

Away to the window Baba flew like a flash,
Screaming "Lock all the doors and hide all the cash".
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But a pagach shaped sleigh complete with reindeer.

With a little old Slovak so lively and quick,
We knew in a moment it was Janosik.
Faster than Novenas his reindeer all came
As he shouted "On Stefan" and each reindeer's name.

"On Stefan, on Boris, on Janos, and Olga,
On Jasko, on Cyril, on Sandor and Volga".
Then out to the smokehouse the reindeer all flew
With a sleigh full of Kolbasa and Janosik too.

Into the smoke vent he lept with a bound,
Dancing the czardas and twirling around.
He did a quick polka, then went to his work.
He gave us Oplatki then turned with a jerk.

We gave him Kapusta and Dzedo's old clothes,
Then sang Ticha Noc as up the vent he rose.
But we heard him exclaim as we took off our coats,
"Vesele Vianoce to all and to all dobre noc".

The Anonymous Slovak author is unknown.

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem is also called "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem in 1822.

Authorship has also been attributed to Henry Livingston by some research scholars.

Twas the night before Christmas has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of Twas the night before Christmas St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers.

If there is a more parodied poem than Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas", I don't know what it could be.

The meter of "A visit from St. Nick" is infectious, its rhyme scheme cheery and simple, its homespun, nostalgic imagery is ripe for spoofing.

This is the original poem....

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

The tradition of reading the "Twas the Night before Christmas" poem on Christmas Eve is now a Worldwide institution.

We hope reading the Slovak version of the poem becomes a tradition too, at least in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, if not worldwide.

After you read the original version be sure to take the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" Reading Comprehension Test. The test is fun and you get a grade when you are finished.

We made a Microsoft Word document of "A Slovak's Night before Christmas" that fits exactly one page for printing and including in your Christmas card or letter to your friends and family.

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