Masked devils march via the village, rattling their chains and clanking bells, going door-to-door to hunt for badly-behaved children.
The sinister-looking pre-Christmas custom in the Czech village of Valasska Polanka is certainly a celebration of the 4th-century Saint Nicholas, who appears in costume to appease the children with sweets.
Chased in the snow by 40 fearsome figures in sheepskin masks, the village children saw it practically as nicely pleasant.
“The tradition is beautiful, we enjoy it, we run away from those devils, they chase us, it is awesome,” acknowledged Vaclav Kozubik an adolescent from Valasska Polanka, some 330 km (200 miles)southeast of the capital Prague.
One of the devils, carrying a 40-year-old mask as quickly as utilized by his father, was very important of novelties similar to the Krampus masks worn in the Christmas interval all through central Europe.
“The (younger) lads are influenced by the Krampus a bit, they are trying to adjust their horns, but we older (ones) don’t like it much; we want our Polanka tradition to go on,” acknowledged one masked man who gave his title as Cerny Cert – which means Dark Devil.