Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Dear readers,

As promised an entire blogpost on Sinterklaas! I apologize that it took me so long to put this up... I actually wrote it last Thursday at work, but forgot to send it to myself... yeah very smart XD. I will first start with an explanation for my non-Dutch readers, after which I will cut to the more important stuff… PRESSENTS! :P

Sinterklaas is a Dutch holiday especially for children. It has an origin which is closely connected to that of Santa Clause (hence the similarity I names). Sinterklaas, or Sint Nicolaas (direct translation would become Saint Nicolas) was the Turkish bishop of Myra. He died on the 6th of December about 340 C.E.  He is said to have performed many good deeds, such as giving money and goods to the poor. Amongst other things, he is said to have freed Moorish slaves who decided to thank him by serving him for the rest of their lives. These Moors are referred to as Zwarte Piet (Translation would be Black Peter). In our tradition these Zwarte Pieten are still helping Sinterklaas to bring around presents and to throw candy (usually a type of candy called pepernoten, candy made of gingerbread) to the children (which is a reference to the scattering of money amongst the poor). There is a different version to the story of Zwarte Piet, namely that h was first a while person, but became black because he had to go through the chimney so often. 

Usually in the weekend of the second week of November Sinterklaas together with his Pieten arrives on his steamer filled with presents. What is a little confusing is that our Sinterklaas is said to come from Spain. Apparently somewhere along the line the legend of Saint Nicolas got missed up with a Spanish saint. But oh well, he brings presents along so who cares where he is from? Hahha

From the day of his arrival onwards children are allowed to put their shoes in front of the fireplace (much like you do with a Christmas stocking) and then have to sing a song. During the night Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten make their way across the rooftops to fill the shoes with presents and candy. What is important to note here that Sinterklaas travels on horseback, he is an old man after all haha. He is the proud owner of a white horse called Americo.

On the 5th of December we celebrate something called pakjesavond (boxing evening). This is the final night before Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten will return to Spain and they go away with a bang ;). They visit every house in the evening hours leaving a bunch of presents . The watchful children might just be able to catch a glimpse of Zwarte Piet his black glove as he throws some candy into their living room.

Well then, now we come to the interesting part…. What did Sinterklaas bring me on pakjesavond? I sure got spoiled. I received a dvd called ‘The Borrowers’, which is the newest Studio Ghibli movie that came out on dvd in the Netherlands not too long ago. I also received a Winnie the Pooh version of a game called Frustration or in Dutch Mens-erger-je-niet. I also received two typical Sinterklaas presents, namely a chocolate letter and a gingerbread man (though the Dutch ones are quite different from the American or English ones. Please see the picture below). 

Well I hope you have enjoyed reading my blogpost on Sinterklaas. Better late than never they always say!



Adinda said...

Leuk logje! En leuke cadeaus :).

Blackcat said...

Thanks meis! :D