23 December 2012


Sinterklaas is not Santa!  There are a couple similarities but the story and tradition is very different. Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands sometime in November (I forget the exact date) on a boat from Spain (aparently he prefers to spend the off-season in a warm climate). He rides a white horse and is accompanied by his Moorish helpers; all named Zwarte Piet (black Pete).  [There is some controversy recently over the history of Zwarte Piet and his slave roots.  There have been attempts to paint Piet in different colors but mostly the story has simply been altered to say that his face is black from chimney soot.]  He tours the country, attending parades and making appearances at parties and shopping centers for a couple weeks before making his deliveries on 5 December. Children leave their shoes out and Sint leaves cookies, chocolate coins, fruit...maybe a tiny present but Sinterklaas is not the big gift-giving holiday Santa produces. Children who misbehave aren't threatened with coal but rather with the idea that Pete will stuff them in a sack and Sint will take them away back to Spain.

Last year I happend upon a Sinterklaas parade.  Kids love to dress up as Zwarte Piets.

Sint came to the house this year and left some goodies for Mom, Dad and Gran. I had to put them up out of reach of the dogs but will put it all back out tomorrow before I leave to get them from the airport.

It's a good thing there just happened to be shoes/slippers for them here.
Apples, oranges, pretty painted eggs, chocolate euro, papernoten (little spice cookies)...

I guess I fell somewhere between good and bad because there were no treats in my shoes but I didn't end up in Zwarte Piet's sack either. Pitty, perhaps...the weather is probably nicer in Spain right now :)


  1. Cool story. I wish I was born in Europe. I'll never get the American out of me no matter where I lived. I should be more grateful. I compare this parade to the Macy Thanksgiving parade. What a silly parade. But people love it. If I'm anonymous how do you who posted?

    1. You can always put your name at the end, Jan.