Companion page to December 3rd

Sinterklaas is a traditional dutch holiday figure which is thought to be the origin of the american Santa Clause. The inspiration behind the figure comes from Saint Nicholas of Myra, the patron Saint of children and sailors.

Already in the middle ages the Saint’s name-day was occasion for celebration, by giving gifts of money to the poor in their shoes. In present times it is a children orientated family celebration, on the evening of the 5th of December, ‘Pakjesavond’.

Sinterklaas wears a white bishop’s alb, a red cape and mitre and dons a large curled ceremonial staff. He rides his white dappled stallion Amerigo across the rooftops and is assisted by a large number of acrobatic helpers wearing colorful costumes, the ‘zwarte pieten’or ‘black petes’. Originally thought to be mediterranean or Moorish, but in modern times their dark appearance is explained by the soot from delivering presents down the chimneys.

Sinterklaas arrives by steamboat from Spain every year around the middle of November. (Even though Saint Nicholas was from Turkey, somewhere along the illuminous paths of history he ended up arriving from Spain, there is most likely a link with mandarin oranges, a traditional Sinterklaas treat. Taking place in a different city each year, the arrival is a spectacle that is broadcast nationaly. In the weeks leading up to the 5th of December children can place their shoes under the chimney with a poem for Sinterklaas, some milk for Zwarte Piet or a carrot for Amerigo, if they have been good they will find treats or a small present in return the next morning.

On the evening of December 5th, Sinterklaas is celebrated in most families in the Netherlands. If the family has small children, the evening usually starts with a loud knock on the door or window and the following discovery of a big brown bag filled with presents left by Sinterklaas. Families with older children, groups of friends or colleagues also celebrate Sinterklaas but either play a game that involves ‘winning’ a small present from the big stash or by drawing names beforehand and getting the other person a small gift, sometimes wrapped in a whimsical packaging called a ‘surprise’ accompanied by a poem.

To this day, Sinterklaas is still the largest gift-giving oriented holiday in the Netherlands, although Christmas decorations are showing up in the stores earlier every year too. Typical Sinterklaas treats such as taai-taai, pepernoten, chocolate coins,filled speculaas and mandarin oranges fill the grocery shops and large amounts of hot chocolate (with whipped cream on top!) are consumed on the evening itself.

I hope we will continue to honor this tradition for a long time to come.

And that, dear reader, is the story of... Sinterklaas

Credits all DD:

3rd page in my Days of december project.

Today was Finn’s first time celebrating Sinterklaas. Two days before the official
event, Sinterklaas had brought presents for all the grandchildren at the house of
Bram’s parents. While Finn was too young to understand what was going on,
he loved unwrapping his presents and playing with them and his nephews Tijn
and Siem. It was a wonderful afternoon to celebrate with family.


Anna Aspnes
Curled Paper Edges No.2
MultiStitched by Anna Black/White No. 01
MultiStitched by Anna Circles Black/White No. 01

Katie Pertiet
Classic Cardstock: Little Layette
Classic Embossed Cardstock: Winter Park
Drop Shadow Styles Collection

Michelle Martin
Just Linens Paper Pack No. 11
Just Ribbed Paper Pack No. 02

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