Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sinterklaas arrives in Holland

This weekend, SinterKlaas arrived in Holland. For those not familiar with this tradition, he is the 'brother' of Santa Claus. For the Dutch, presents are given on 'pakjesavond' or gift evening on December 5th. The 'Sint' arrives on a steamboat from Spain.

He does not have elves like Santa Claus but 'Zwarte Piet' or Black Peter who helps him. He keeps the names of all the children is a book along with a note if they have been good or bad. If they are bad, they get the 'roe' (beaten with sticks). If they are very bad, they are taken back to Spain in Piet's burlap sack. (DH likes this prospect! LOL!)

SinterKlaas rides on a white horse. He will deliver presents to the children's houses on the evening of December 5th but until then children will set their shoe by the chimney on Saturday evenings with a carrot and sugar cube for the horse. The next day they will find a small gift and/or candy in their shoe.

These photos are taken in the village of Oosterwolde in the north of Holland where we saw SinterKlaas arrive on Saturday afternoon. As you see, Holland is in the middle of its peak of autumn color along the canal. It is very odd to have this peak around the same time as SinterKlaas celebrations.


Lynda said...

I really enjoyed seeing and reading about SinterKlaas, Heidi! It's interesting to see your canals and your autumn foliage!

Nan said...

Heidi, I loved reading about Sinterklaas, and seeing the photos. Is the gift giving on the 5th the only present time, or are there gifts on Christmas, as well? Do the Dutch give a lot of presents, or is the occasion on a smaller scale than is often the case in the US?

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Thank you for sharing the story and your photos---I just showed this to my girls. We wanted to learn a little more about Sinterklaas and we really enjoyed seeing this!