Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sinterklaas

I'm still sore from slipping last week but it served me right for putting up the lights before Sinterklaas has visited. This is one of the traditions we bought with us from Belgium and I violated it at my peril.
The Sint (known as St Nicolas in the francophone part of the country) arrives on a boat from Spain at the end of November then treks through the low countries on his horse, accompanied by his helper(s) Zwarte Piet(s). On the evening of Dec 5 he leaves oranges, a chocolate initial and presents in the shoes of good children in The Netherlands, and arrives in Belgium on the morning of the 6th to do the same.
As most Mamas in Belgium work, families celebrate St Nicholas the weekend before but Sintaklaas always visits nurseries and schools on the right day. Only after Sinterklaas has passed through can the xmas decorating begin, and December 25th is more a family celebration than the culmination of retail frenzy.
I shall be singing these songs and a few others until I drive everyone demented and they beg me to stop. It's a happy holiday.

1 comment:

MileMasterSarah said...

Ah man, I'd be holding out for the chocolate initial. Thanks for sharing this holiday tradition!