Holidays at Dimensie - Sinterklaas
The holiday season has started, which brings both joy and commotion. But do not worry, we are not opening up a discussion here about all the commotion around the festivities during the holiday season. It is, nevertheless, the season of joy.
In the Netherlands we are now celebrating Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas and his helpers, the Pieten, arrive every year on a Saturday in the middle of November, which was this year on the 14th of November. This is a big televised event in which Sinterklaas arrives together with his horse and the Pieten on his boat from Spain. Normally, when we are not dealing with COVID-19, there are a lot of children who are there to wave to them. Or are they just there for the delicious pepernoten and other kinds of candy that are common during this time? Well, the children are mostly there for Sinterklaas and the Pieten, and of course a little bit for the candy), while the parents and especially the fathers are there for the candy (and also to watch their child of course).
After the arrival of Sinterklaas and the Pieten, children can put their shoe with a carro, for the horse of Sinterklaas, and a wish list for the bigger presents on the 5th of December (Don’t worry, we will come back to this later) in front of the fireplace and sing songs for Sinterklaas and the Pieten, who will, hopefully, give them a present. This is mostly a small gift like a chocolate letter and that is the reason why parents sometimes add their shoe as well, depending on whether they are on a diet or not. During these three weeks, children can put their shoes once, twice or even more times a week in front of the fireplace, depending on the agreement between the parents and Sinterklaas. You were lucky if you could spell your name in the end with chocolate letters, but you had to resist eating them before gathering all the letters. It is of course easier to resist if your name is Mark, you only have to gather four letters. If your name is Esche Esche, you have to collect ten letters, which makes it harder to resist.
Sinterklaas leaves together with the Pieten on his birthday, the 6th of December. That is why on the 5th of November he gives bigger presents to the whole family. These presents are most of the time too big to fit through the chimney, so Sinterklaas or one of the Pieten puts them in front of the door and rings the doorbell or knocks on the windows to let you know that the presents are there. Sinterklaas or one of the Pieten almost never give the presents in person, remember that they have to go to every house to deliver presents. It can of course happen that children run too fast to the door and see Sinterklaas or one of the Pieten running away, or even falling if there is wintery weather. However, we of course want everyone to get presents, so Sinterklaas and the Pieten cannot stay.
This shows the general idea of this festivity, where it is all about joy. However, did you know that…
… Sinterklaas is based on a Greek bishop named Saint Nicholas who lived from the year 270 to 343?
… parents tell the children that Sinterklaas records all good and naughty things children do in a red book?
… the songs children sing for Sinterklaas and the Pieten changed during World War II?
… the festivity of Sinterklaas is celebrated in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, northern France and in former Dutch territories, like Aruba?