Friday, 14 December 2007

A Dutch Tradition (and slightly a late edition from me)

It is now december, it is now very cold, christmas lights are up, shops are busy this time around, trees are very well lighted, christmas markets are on, parades welcoming christmas are well underway, christmas cards are almost out... but here, in the netherlands, december means sinterklass and christmas.

Anyway, i know this is late news. as sinterklass was almost a couple of weeks back. but here's just to share, on the dutch tradition.

Every eve of 5th of december, children look forward to opening their gifts. no, not quite christmas, but yes, its Sinterklass. Sinterklass or Saint Nicolaas, is a tradition in the Netherlands (and certain parts of Europe) where kids will get to unwrap their surprises from the sint (like santa claus). the sint arrives the kids get 2 bites at the annual presents! lucky them!

Sinterklass traditionally arrives from spain, by a steamboat. he wears a red long robe and with a tall hat. a little bit more religious than santa claus. he will visit everyone with parades welcoming him and his helpers zwart piet (black piet). zwart piet will throw tiny round cookies to the children.

And what they normally do is, kids will put carrots or apples in their shoe near their chimney (should they have one), or in the living room for zwarte piet to take. . they will then place presents for the kids in return. its really nice to learn of other tradition.

Our friend Mush writes well on siterklass (you'd probably have to scroll down a bit). you can either read her take on it here or click here, to learn more on sinterklass.

Aidan brought home some presents from school and they made him a hat as well. piet's hat. we would certainly want aidan to learn and respect other traditon and cultures. and its really nice to see kids happy smiling away, and parents creating memories for them to remember by.



Aidan's Papa said...

As we know it today, Santa Claus is quite Americanized. The Dutch brought Sinter Klaas tradition to New York, and when British took over, the tradition continued and over time it evolved into Santa Claus. (historically, the Dutch 'swapped' New York for Surinam with the British according to Treaty of Westminster in 1674)

mº¿ºsh, brecht & nora said...

i would say better late than never Z ; ) Glad Aidan got to ring in Sinterklaas, Nora was spoilt with gifts from her grandparents, godparents, school and of course US = ) Nora started her blabbering with asking WAT IS DAT, pointing at EVERYTHING, we even hv to repeat, and it starts from the moment she wakes up till she goes to sleep.... and now she adds, Mamma Mamma!! kijk kijk or ngok ngok (tengok tengok) heheheheh I am exhausted at the end of the day Z ; ) But i would miss her alot when she's at school...

Wiz said...

The round biscuits, what are they made off? They look like biskut kelapa kan, or kuih bakar that melts in your mouth tu. do they taste like one too?

Lollies said...

ahhh that explains it. sya has classmates from Holland and they brought picture with a slightly different looking santa claus riding a boat. Indeed looking more religious than commercial. and my lover's works with dutch contractors, even he get some cookies (gingerbread cookies) and also those round cookies.

So now i know what those are.

the arabs have special day on the 15th Ramashan called Garangou where the kids would walk from house to house with beautiful traditional clothes collecting sweets and nuts and some presents. The way our dutch friends explain to us their sinterklass day was, its like Garangou.

I like reading about other people's culture first hand. thank you zaza.

Lollies said...

Ho ho ho after reading the wikipedia link, i just found out the round cookies are also ginger bread.

I was only gobbling up the large ones.

Akmal said...

Kak Zaza,
Hey, Aidan must be very happy to get the gifts right? It is very wise and thoughtful of you to let him learn and respect the local culture from his age.
I like his picture at the top of your posting. Tell him abang Akmal kirim salam(",).
You have a good day, keep warm.

Salina said...

Thanks to you and Mush i've learned a lot about my favourite man Santa Clause/Sinterklass. All this while i only know the american version of Santa Claus from the movie and was very surprised that kids received gifts on the 5th of Dec. By the way, little Aidan looks so adorable in that hat.

Aidan's Mama & Papa said...

guys, thanks for the comments, will reply them, individually soon. it's almost midnight and we just got back from amsterdam. had only 5 hours of sleep last night (thanks to x factor, but yey, LEON won!!) and fought with the frost early this morning to rush to the airport to fetch one special young man, my nephew (my cousin's son). --> look at me, just read this, this is so longwinded. but anyway, i'm gonna join aidan, i'm gonna call it a day and hit the sack, while the other 2 boys are downstairs watching Match of the Day, highlights of Man Utd's match.


Cat Cat said...

Yeah, my girlfriend in Amsterdam celebrate Christmas in early December... When we were visiting them 4 years ago, she was busy making puppet show for her son's school... Very cute.

Aidan's Mama & Papa said...

aidan's papa: eh, next time you write la.. you write with history and all.. lagi best. i didnt even know that side of sinterklass!! hehe.

mush: i bet you miss her when she's at school. and i bet you kept hearing her voice "ngok ngok"... "kijk kijk"... so adorable! glad that nora enjoyed her sinterklass!

wiz: those round cookies tastes gingerish and cinnamonish. very christmas-y kindda taste. i tend to pass on them but hardy likes them!

lollies: Garangou sounds like halloween minus the scarry costumes eh? is there a reason to this lollies? your kids participate tak? this is really interesting as i love to read what other expats are experiencing as well. and yes those tiny round biscuits are just like ginger cookies. you only gobble the big one eh? naughty naughty! :P

abang akmal: mama made me wear that hat! but it didnt last long! hehe...

salina: i enjoyed sinterklass, there's just too many toys being sold at that time, good choice, good bargains as well! and its certainly nice to learn of other cultures and traditions. very interesting indeed! aidan lasted only 10 seconds wearing that hat!

cat: yep, they have puppetshows as well during sinterklass. a complete puppetshow! and you were in amsterdam 4 years ago? when's your next trip here?! ;)

putri said...

Assalamualaikum,greetings from s'pore. I came upon ur blog by chance. Very interesting! Kinda dejavu. I was living in Holland for a year with my parents. It was a total CHANGE! But now I went back but my parents are still in Rotterdam. I love Holland! Very nice...Keep on updating!

And if u ever miss malaysian food, just visit my blog at warning! dont do it when u are pregnant or u will Crave....eehheh!

p.s: I did watch the whole sinterklass "thingy" -concert and arrival by boat and then rode white horse in rotterdam last year. Many black petes are present too with tiny ginger biscuits and sweets...