Saint Nicholas 1

18 11 2008

Saintly fun hasn’t finished yet! On Saturday, followed closely on a special television broadcast by all children in Belgium and the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas, arrived from Spain by steamboat.

sinterklaas-stoomboot

You see, Saint Nicholas, or ”Sinterklaas”, lives forever, and many centuries ago he was the bishop of Smyrna. He used to give dowries to poor girls so they could get good husbands. Saint Nicholas now lives in Spain during most of the year, but in November Saint Nicholas, and his black Piets, and his white horse, all travel by steamboat to the Netherlands and Belgium.

sinterklaas-op-het-dak

This old nineteenth century lithograph showing Sinterklaas and black Piet on the roof, Saint Nicholas is throwing down candy to the expectant children in the house.

From now until the fifth of December, Saint Nicholas will ride the roofs of all houses at night, together with black Piet, and distribute small gifts to children.
So if you are still small, you can take your shoe, put it in front of the fireplace, (if you’re really nice you add a carrot for the grey horse) and sing special ”Sinterklaas-songs” and while you are sleeping, Black Piet climbs down the chimney, leaves a small present in your shoe, and take up the carrot to the grey horse.

sinterklaas-schouw

sinterklaas-enpietopdak

A very rare modern photograph of Sinterklaas and black Piet climbing the roof of an old farm.

In the daytime, Saint Nicholas travels around a lot visiting different cities, and schools, businesses and hospitals. This causes conflicts. Newspapers have been known to announce three different visits of Sinterklaas, on different locations, at the same time! How is that possible?
Well, actually, there are ”help-Saints” to make it possible for Saint Nicholas to be everywhere at once. And it doesn’t matter where or when you get to meet Sain Nicholas, you can always be sure you are meeting the one and only real Saint Nicholas!

sinterklaas-1

Visiting amsterdam

On these occasions The black Piets hand out special candy and small cookies, made with spicy herbs, and candy in lettershapes, and chocolate in animal shapes. This is called ”strooigoed” and everybody can get a handfull.

sinterklaas-strooigoed


A group of ”Help-Saints”

sinterklaas-klonen-2

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13 responses

18 11 2008
Achelois

How interesting!

18 11 2008
Mezba

Interesting. We had a Santa Claus parade this weekend as well. Everyone came out to see it, and I could hear some of the Mums telling their little tots “this is the man who will come on Christmas” while others were saying “this isn’t a real Santa but the real one will come down the chimney on the 25th!!!”

As an aside, even though it was cold, this time Santa’s “helpers” included some rather nicely costumed elves of the young female variety! Hohoho!

18 11 2008
Shahrzad

Interesting.. It’s interesting that girls used to ask him to pray them for husband.. Those candies seem yummie! ๐Ÿ˜€

19 11 2008
Lat

Does St. Nicholas come to Singapore? It’s not the candy I want but a pic of the Saint with his white horse!

19 11 2008
Aafke

Mezba, allthough Santaclaus was clearly inspired by Sinterklaas, he is a completely different person to us!

Lat, I think he narrows the field exclusively to the low countries.
But you can always visit here ๐Ÿ™‚

19 11 2008
alwaysinthekitchen

We make Saint Nicholas cookies and take them to the children for sunday school.We have them put their shoes by the door as we have a little party and watch a St. Nicholas video.They’re always so surprised to see their shoes filled with treats!

19 11 2008
Aafke

Ah, always, you can make anything! ๐Ÿ™‚ You have st. Nicholas video’s? Or Santaclaus video’s?

19 11 2008
Nevis

How very interesting!

19 11 2008
Aafke

Hi Nevis! There’s more to come! ๐Ÿ™‚

20 11 2008
alwaysinthekitchen

Theres a whole series of saints videoshttp://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=207http://www.aquinasandmore.com/index.cfm/title/Nicholas-DVD/FuseAction/store.ItemDetails/SKU/60109/ the cookie cutters are fun!

21 11 2008
Haleem

Aafke, I thought St Nicholas was the same as Santa Claus! Do you not have Santa Claus in Holland? I thought it was universal in Christian lands.

21 11 2008
Aafke

Haleem, watch for the next post!

Always, haha! excellent!

22 11 2008
Haleem

Thanks! Always, educational!

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