Friday 6 December 2013


Who is Sinterklaas, who are zwarte Piet and what is a pepernot?

Sinterklaas and his feast day is a huge thing in the Netherlands! His annual arrival and parade in all the cities of the Netherlands and the traditional festivities that follow are amazing! Sinterklaas is the reason why Santa Klaus exists. His true origin of existance is Saint Nikolaos (who was an actual person and honoured as a saint in the Orthodox church).

Every year everyone is waiting for him to come from Spain (no one really knows why he chose to live in Spain but maybe the Spanish domination over the Netherlands in the past has something to do with it). 
He even has his own website-journall (The Sinterklaas Journal) with live news covering his every move.
Zwarte Piet literally means Black Peter, they are Sint’s helpers. The last years Zwarte Piet is the subject of depate in the Netherlands, about how racist the whole idea is.

Once Sint arrives in every town, children lay out their shoes before bedtime, along with water and a carrot for his horse, in the hopes that there will be a gift left there by morning.
The very sweet kids are usually rewarded with chocolate letters and marzipan while the naughty anxiously wait to see if they’ve been given coal..

Although the feast of Saint Nicolas is celebrated on the 6th of December, the evening of 5th December is the main gift-giving occasion during the holiday season in the Netherlands. 
Called 'sinterklaasavond' (Sinterklaas night) or 'pakjesavond'  (presents night), Sint drops off a sack full of gifts on the doorstep before heading back to Spain. Every present from Sinterklaas, has a poem that is written especially for each recipient. 

All the children but also the adults are enjoying this feast day, although some find it too childish. For me it's all new, and I can honestly say, I like it!! I knew saint Nikolaos already and it's nice to receive his gifts!!
This year Sinterklaas visited our house (maybe while I was sleeping) and left inside my boots, some pepernoten (small spiced biscuits) and a lovely chocolade letter.

Dank je Sinterklaasje!!

You can find many nice songs, images and printables in this site (all in Dutch).

In our parish for Sinterklaas gifts, the children of Sunday school prepared some amazing christmas ornaments and cards to help the Romanian 
Valea Plopului orphanage.If you want to help, you can visit their facebook page.

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