Sinterklaas 2011

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Sinterklaas and his black Pieters

Sinterklaas and his black Pieters

Well and truly Silly Season now. Shops are full of decorations and all we hear is Christmas music. In today’s multicultural world it is odd to see a Christian religious day being celebrated by just about anyone. Would you deprive your child a Christmas present if your family did not celebrate Christmas?

In Holland EVERYONE celebrates Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas celebrates his birthday on the 5th of December by giving everyone presents. Sinterklaas, although he might look religious, is non-denominational. He gives fairly to all, and everyone in Holland celebrates his birthday.

You think that is weird? Giving presents to others on your birthday? Well, that is not all. He allegedly comes from Spain, in a steamboat, accompanied by Black Pieters, his helpers! There is always one head-Piet who carries the book which in it has every child’s name and if they have been good or bad for the year. Bad children run the risk of being put in the bag and taken back to Spain, or at best get a spanking with the ‘roe’ (a chimney sweep’s broom made of willow branches) instead of candies and presents.

As Sinterklaas arrives in Holland, there is a big parade where lollies are thrown to the kids watching the parade. Then to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, Sinterklaas will then go and visit all the children over a period of 2-3 weeks by riding his horse over the roofs of houses, with Black Pieter climbing down the chimneys to check for shoes which kids leave at the fire-place (or just the heater these days).  This is why Pieter is black apparently.

Kids leave their shoe at the heater with a poem for Sinterklaas and some hay for the horse, and if ‘the Sint’ comes past he will take the hay and the poem and leave some candies and sometimes a small present.

On the night of the 5th of December Sinterklaas comes to visit the homes of all families, with Black Pieter carrying a big sack full of presents. Each present has a Sinterklaas poem, and kids have to sing Sinterklaas songs till they hear him knock on the door. Sometimes Sinterklaas has no time to come by personally and you hear a lot of noise in the attic, dad will go and look and find that the Black Pieter left the big sack of presents upstairs! If Sinterklaas comes to visit everyone has to sit on his knee just like Santa does – something that fat old people with white beards and red costumes do it seems!

So if you need an excuse to give someone a nice new warm hat, why not tell them it is Sinterklaas today and get them a Mad Bomber hat. We have several cool hats at 35% discount!

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One Response to “Sinterklaas 2011”

  1. Sinterklaasintocht 2012 Says:

    Hi, when will sinterklaas intocht 2012 be in holland?

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