We do not know any other country apart from Hungary where Santa has a factory. In recent years, the Santa Claus Factory has grown into one of the biggest charity events in Hungary. This also shows how important gift-giving on St. Nicholas’s day – which is known in all Christian countries – is to Hungarians. Between 1 and 21 December 2023, the organisers of the Santa Claus Factory are happy to receive non-perishable food, cleaning and hygiene products and sweets as donations. The campaign will also be promoted by the Finnish Santa Claus, Joulupukki, this year: children can meet him on 1 and 6 December in Budapest, at the opening ceremony of the Santa Claus Factory, on 3 December in Sárvár, on 4 December in Bábolna, on 6 December in Szerencs and on 7 December in Szombathely.
Who is Nicholas with chains?
Giving gifts on St. Nicholas’ Day was associated to Bishop St. Nicholas. It was originally an urban custom that spread from the bourgeoisie to the peasantry through mediation by village intellectuals in the 1930s and 1940s. Before this, 6 December was not really a favourite holiday for children. It was a long-standing custom in villages that on St. Nicholas' Day, young men, and even married men, put on fur coats inside out, covered their faces with soot and rattled chains to frighten small children and older girls. These scary people were called “alakoskodók”, and this is where the term Nicholas with chains also comes from.