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The History of Sinterklaas

Yesterday we published a post about the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, yet we should have also posted the history. Here it is:

On the morning of St. Nicholas’ Day, Sinterklaas travels to a city or town in The Netherlands, wearing his red bishop’s robes. He travels with his servant called Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). When Sinterklaas and Black Peter come ashore from the boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. Sinterklaas then leads a procession through the town, riding a white horse. If he has gone to Amsterdam that year he will to meet the Queen in the Palace.

On December 5th children leave clogs or shoes out to be filled with presents. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for Sinterklaas’s horse, they will be left some sweets. Children are told that Zwarte Piet keeps a record of all the things they have done in the past year in a book and that good children will get presents from Sinterklaas, but bad children will get chased by Zwarte Piet with a stick!! Dutch tradition says that he lives in Madrid, Spain, and every year he chooses a different harbor to arrive in Holland, so as many children as possible get a chance to see him. Every town in Holland has a few Sinterklaas helpers, dressed the same as Sinter Klaas who help give the presents out.

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