Yesterday was the fifth of December and here in Holland that means we’re celebrating ‘Sinterklaas’. No, not Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, but I understand the confusion. This is also an old man dressed in red, gold and white, but instead of reindeer he has helpers that go by the name of ‘Piet’. Sinterklaas has a small army of Pieten to make sure all children recieve their presents on time. There is something required of the children though, these presents don’t come free of charge, oh no! You have to be a good little girl or boy for a whole year, sing your lungs out to please both Piet and Sinterklaas and stuff all your shoes with sugercubes, carrots and apples for Sinterklaas’ horse, it’s hard work you know!
Another great tradition is the writing of poetry. Every gift has to be accompanied by a poem. One that reflects on either the gift or the life of the person recieving the gift. A lot of people also recieve complete ‘surprises’. For example, when your gift is a cd with harp music, you’d make a big harp out of clay or paper mache or cardboard to hide the cd in and leave clues in the poem so the reciever can guess what’s inside. Also, grown-ups are allowed to mention all the embarrasing moments someone went through in that year, all in good humor of course, but with Sinterklaas you can be assured someone will have dug up some dirt about your perfect life 😉
I love this feast and its traditions, we don’t have too many traditions left here, so I think it’s important to cherish the ones we still have.
Have a safe trip back home Sinterklaas and Happy Birthday!