Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The dutch Santa Claus

Christmas is widely celebrated all over the world. In many countries it is the biggest holiday. Christmas is also celebrated in the Netherlands, but not so widely. Dutch people instead celebrate a similar holiday with a similar man who wears red and white. However, he comes in a ship from Spain, and his name is Sinterklaas.

Another difference from Santa Claus is the helpers of Sinterklaas, not elves but black people from Spain (Zwarte Piet and his friends the Pieten). Many people find this bad as the helpers started as slaves in the early days of Sinterklaas but currently act goofy. However, some white helpers have been introduced this year.

How do we know so much about Sinterklaas? Well, he actually comes to the Netherlands in mid-November, and there is a website in which you can actually view the latest news. There is usually a different problem every year to keep kids viewing the website, such as the Pieten dropping keys in cookie dough and trying to find the keys, as well as some of the Pieten taking the boat back to Spain early.

When is Sinterklaas? Well, the kids start putting out their shoes by the fireplace in November. Then the Pieten come in the night, fill the shoes with things such as pepernoten, a kind of very small, hard cookie, and chocolate letters, and other dutch sweets. Children usually put out their shoes two to four or five times within the month of November.

Sinterklaas on his horse. 

 Bag of pepernoten.
Pakjesavond (present day) is the fifth of December. It is when Sinterklaas comes and brings a large bag of sweets to every family. Most of the presents are what you would normally get for Christmas, but there are a few added pepernoten and possibly the chocolate letters.

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