Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sinterklaas arrives tonight - will your children be in Spain tomorrow?

It's December 5th.  That day known to all Dutch children as the day when Sinterklaas arrives to either give the children presents - or punish them.  

Unlike our rotund Santa Clause, Sinterklaas is a slender man in the garb of the Catholic church's royalty.  

After all he is a retired Bishop of Turkey.  

He arrives by boat to The Netherlands in mid-November and then climbs onto a horse to travel around the country, listening to the wishes of all of the hopeful boys and girls. He is accompanied by six to eight black men.  Apparently a number that is too high for anyone to get an accurate count on. Zwarte Piet, as these black men are known formerly were slaves but now are friends of Sinterklaas.

In previous days, Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piet would go house-to-house on the night December 5th giving presents to the good children and beating the bad children with a switch.  Sometimes they would even put the really bad children into sacks and take them back to Spain - where Sinterklaas now lives.  

Today, they merely pretend to kick the naughty boys and girls.

It makes me grateful to be an American where we only get lumps of coal.

After all, coal is worth a lot now-a-days.

Seriously - have you purchased any recently?

Happy St. Nicholas Day, Netherlands!!


(If you like David Sedaris, you will love the videos of his take on Sinterklaas.)


  1. Gah! That is wild!! Thanks for the giggle!

  2. A suprising story. Love to read about how other cultures celebrate the holidays. Can't wait to read more. A job well done.


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