"Sinterklaas" Netherlands Travelogue by Umfufu
Netherlands Travel Guide: 31,862 reviews and 86,685 photos
<center><font color=red size=-1>Sinterklaas is a very nice man...and a very old man. In most countries there is only Santa Claus with Christmas, in the Netherlands we have both...Santa and the Sint.
I think Sinterklaas is a really Dutch event although i think Belgium and Germany also have this event.
I will try to explain Sinterklaas to you and what the party is all about. Have a nice trip through history, past and future and a lot more.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> As I told you before Sinterklaas has a nice white horse called Americo to walk over the roofs. On this little image Americo isn’t very white, but the white horse represent the wealthy state of Sinterklaas. In former days you had a white horse when you were a rich man or a king , duke or just very important. Thats why Nicolas is on a white horse. </>
<center><font color=red size=-1>Nic is clothed very well. The first thing you notice is his had. This had is called a mitre. Normally this has is only worn by the Pope, but our Nic is also allowed to wear it. His pastoral staff comes from a herd staff. Its resembling the holy welfare and the pastoral needs. When its real its made of cupper with a small layer of gold.
His red robe is on top over a white dress.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> This is a picture of the real Sinterklaas from Holland. And this Sinterklaas is fun. He is a hard, but funny man. Some years ago he was kidnapped and some television people made a beautiful movie about it. Some Dutch personalities found out where the kidnappers brought Sinterklaas and with the head-black-helper they rescued him.
You can fnd Sint normally in his working-office (where he wears a working mitre)or in his present-office (this is where the Pieten are making all the presents ready for sending to the kids).</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> Sinterklaas isnt capable of giving every kid in the Netherlands a present by himself. Thats way he invented "Helping-Sints". This are special trained persons who may help the real Sinterklaas to bring presents to the children. Sometimes you have a fake HS. You can reconise this fake one very simple: He is having white instead of purple handcloves and wears a jeans under his white dress. And most of the times this fake one smell like being in a pub all the time!</>
<center><font color=red size=-1>In a this wonderful big red book the Saint keeps all his memories of the children over the whole wide world. If you were a nice little girl or boy you would receive something nice, but if you were naughty you will be put in the sack and you have to go with him to Spain (As a kid this sounds awful, but now I am grown up I would love to spend more time in Spain).
Adults give little children and other adults gifts with a rhyme. In this rhyme you tell about the persons misbehaver of the last year and make fun of it. Also a surprise parcel is something we use to do. On schools (from the age of 10), family’s or between friends you have to fill in your name on a little note and then all the names come in a had. You have to take one of this notes and give the person on the note a gift. But not just the gift. You have to make something that fools the size, great, shape, weight of the gift. Most of the times its something bad or Yack what is made for that other person. But always fun.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> When Nicolas was a young man, there were three little girls. They wanted to marry but the daddy had nothing to give the man of the girls. So there was nothing else left for the girl to go on the streets and have sex for money. But Nicolas just came by at helped the girls, by throwing 3 golden coins through the window. This 3 coins just came in the shoe from each of the girls. Now a day children believe that Sint or Piet brings a present and put this in your shoe, because he knows which shoe belongs to which kid.
Children put carrots and sugar cubs in the shoe for the horseand make drawings for Sint and Piet. They sing a Sinterklaas song when they put the shoe near the chimney or window, and hope that the next day there will be a nice present in it.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> There are a lot of songs about and for Saint Nicolas. But not all of them tell the truth. Like that Nic had his birthday on the 5th of December, but this was the eve of death.
If you like to hear what this songs are like you can have a nice time at <a href=”http://www.sinterklaas.frame.net/”target=new window”> Sinterklaas songs </a></>.
<center><font color=red size=-1> Long before the choclate letter came in the Netherlands, there were only cigars of chocolate. The history of the letter starts a long time ago when children learn to read with lose letters from bread and can eat them as a treat. In one year they sale about 13 million chocolate letters. The M and J are popular but also the P from Piet and the S from Sinterklaas. You can have a wonderfull chocolate look at <a href="http://www.droste.nl"target=new window"> Droste </a></>.
<center><font color=red size=-1> Sinterklaas means nice sweets, like candies and marzipan. But also little round, hard kind of nuts that taste like a cookie and chocolate coins. They represent the coin throwing from Sint many year ago. Sinterklaas was not only patron saint of many jobs but also for the family and marriage. Marzipan was in ancient times what now is valentine. In December the boys told a girl they loved her with a piece of marzipan. The peppernuts (kind of sweets) were the same as the rice or confetti now at a marriage. So Sinterklaas was also a marriage man…A lover maker….</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> One fine day kids will find out the Sinterklaas is fake. That he existed a long time ago, but that mum and dad do all the shopping now or the teachers. Kids don’t like it when they hear this, because they feel like being fooled by their own parents. And they feel stupid to have believed in a dead man all this time. Sometimes they even cry and want to know what happens next year.
And that’s a good question, Christmas and Sinterklaas are fighting for the first place in December. They both want to be the best and nicest party. In October the shops start with Christmas markets and so the looks like a real dead for Sinterklaas, but last year in the Netherlands people bought presents for many millions of guiders (or Euros). So I don’t think Sinterklaas will die again in 2002…..</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> The Dutch name for Sinterklaas comes from Saint Nicholas. The boy Nicholas was born in 271 AD in Asia. He was a strange boy, because where he came wonders occurred. One of the first wonders was the as a baby he didn’t want the milk from his mother on the days people who believe in God were not suppose to eat. Later he saved three little boys who were killed by the butcher, to make them his best sausage, to call them back to live. Nicholas became a bishop when he was 19 years old.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1>This is my daddy as Saint Nicolas. He was a help-saint for some years. I think he looks great and as you can see they made his famous. My dad, as Saint Nicolas, is on the cover of an album with all kind of songs for himself. Isn’t that funny….
Most information I have found on the internet and because this people had a lot of work to make their pages I would like to name them, and maybe you can go there to have a look at some more Saint Nicolas :
<a href=”http://www.internet-at-work.com/”target= new window> Sinterklaas </a> or
<a href=”http://www.sint.nl”target= new window> Dutch Sint page </a> or
<a href=”http://www.astro.physics.ox.ac.uk/~erik/sint/sint.html”target= new window> Sinterklaas in several languages </a></>
<center><font color=red size=-1> Because a bishop is suppose to go that way he went to Jerusalem. No by horse but by boat. One day he dreamed about this journey ; the boat would come into terrible weather. And so it happened. But the “SAINT” to be, raise his hands and make the sea calm again and saved all the sailors on the boat. Saint Nicolas was born. He became the patron saint of the sailors from that moment on. But not only the sailors were keen with Nicolas….also the butchers, bakers and judges made him their patron saint.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> A lot of churches in the big harbour cities, like Edam and Harlingen in the Netherlands are called after him. Amsterdam even called him the patron saint of the whole city. In ancient time all the things went by ship so there were a lot of sailors and a lot of churches near the harbours. So Nicolas was one of the most famous people that time.
But Nicolas became the most famous by his good deeds for children all over the world.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> Nicolas served as a bishop the city Myra, in what now is called Turkey. One day there was a meeting. All bishops were there and had a speech. Nicolas didn’t like what one person was telling and Nicolas smacked this person in the face.
The other brothers didn’t like this and told Nicolas he was no longer a bishop but a prisoner. Nicolas had to take his clothes of and save his beard of (a beard is a sign of dignity). And this happened. But when the guardians later that day came to his cell to bring him some water, Nicolas was wearing his bishop clothes again and also his beard was back. So you can imagine that they saw them as a god and Nicolas became bishop again.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1>People from Holland think, sing and rhyme that Nicolas is from Spain. This is strange, because as you know he was born in Asia and worked in Myra. One of the reasons that we think Nicolas is from Spain can be this : Nicolas died 6 December 342 AD and was buried in Myra. But a war destroyed Myra in 1087. Some people from Bira, Italy, went to Myra to save the remaining body from Nicolas. They took it back with them to Bira, were they specially made a church and a wonderful grave for him, and reburied Nicolas again. Bira was a Spanish Colony that time, so maybe that’s the reason why every body thinks that Nic is from Spain.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1> Sinterklaas always arrives in a steamboat, about five weeks before the real thing, somewhere in the Netherlands. Everybody can see it on television and all the children are very nervous. The celebration of Sinterklaas is on the 5th of December.
The party of Sinterklaas comes from two different celebrations. In ancient times there was a childrensparty on the 28th of December and a school-kids party on the 6th of December. On both the party’s the kids went on the street with a bishop collecting money (a kind trick or treat). A long time there was no “Sinterklaas” in the 16th century, but in the 19th it came back again. Some of the songs we still sing were made in that time.</>
<center><font color=red size=-1>Nicolas as a person who is giving away nice gifts, doesn’t want that any person sees him or his helpers, in the night. So that why he walks on the roof of the houses and throw the presents in the chimney. The God Wodan had the same way of keeping contact with the people on earth, so maybe that’s reason Nicolas is using the same way. Or God Odin’s way; he has two ravens who listened by the chimney if people were brave or not (Odin is Sinterklaas and the ravens are the black helpers).
But Sint uses a white horse, to walk over the roof, named Americo. </>
<center><font color=red size=-1>Why Nic has dark helpers is also told in many different stories. One of them is that Nic helped a slave, called Piter, to get his freedom back. Piter lived in Ethiopia and was so happy to get his freedom back he served Nicolas the rest of his life as a thank you.
And other story is that the sailors brought Moorish people from Spain and North Africa.
In the 17e century it was normal to have housekeepers and so on dressed in Moorish clothes.
The black helper is the one who makes the kids smile after they have been punished by the words of Sinterklaas about their behaving from the last year.</>
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