The Netherlands is a strange and wonderful place.
One of the very many traditions that hey have is Sinterklaas.
I was very confused and still am quite confused. This is what I know:
Sinterklaas is a “Legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas”
Basically he came from Spain to the Netherlands with his servants, better known as Zwarte Piet,
They had dark skin and were also generally covered in soot from climbing down the chimneys.
I am very aware of the whole “black face” thing which is why when S’nt arrived and they had a huge gathering, I didn’t take photos of it. My host family did and I will attach it to the blog out of interest. I know that they are not intentional about the ‘black face thing’ and there are talks about changing it. In fact most people now just do a different colour face, whether it is blue, green or yellow. It is different. What I thought would be appropriate is if they used coal to make themselves dirty instead of using paint, that makes more sense to me.
Enough of that tangent. So basically you put your shoe out by the fire place every night, or in our case twice a week as my host mom doesn’t want to spoil the kids. You sing songs for Sinterklaas and leave him drawings as well as apples/carrots/water for the horses.
Also- I have to mention, there’s a whole ‘news’ segment on it. Everyday at 6pm “Sinterklaas News’ comes on and the kids watch it. It’s so crazy!
At the end of Sinterklaas, they do a huge celebration where you get A LOT of presents. No lies, it took us almost 6 hours to open everything. You also get poems from Sinterklaas which I thought was really cute, that was until I learnt I had to write 7 different poems in DUTCH.
So basically, it is Santa celebrated early.They also do Christmas. It’s crazy.
This left me frazzled. I looked for presents and had to do poems which luckily, there are a couple of generators that can help you.
We did our celebration this past Saturday and wow, was it amazing. My host parents literally got a Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet in and he read from his book and everything. Amazing. I really didn’t expect much as I am not the person that wants materialist things but my family absolutely spoilt me. My host dad and I tease each other a lot so he bought me things like a phone holder so “I can take better selfies” as well as a pillow which plays music from your phone which is great for white noise but I am not too sure about my phone being so close to my face.
His poem to me was so funny I couldn’t read it myself because I kept laughing. My host mom attempted to read it out loud too and couldn’t get to the end of it because she was laughing hard too.
I am so grateful for my family and I am so grateful I got to be apart of a tradition they hold so close to their hearts!