"" Writer's Wanderings: Sinter Klaas

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sinter Klaas

While on our cruise, we dined each night with the same four people, two ladies traveling together and another couple, Pieter and Pam. Pieter grew up in the Netherlands and Pam is from Great Britain. When they discovered I'd coauthored a Christmas book, and I was excited to have found a church in Croatia dedicated to St. Nicholas, Peter began to share about the Christmas celebration in the Netherlands.

December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. In Holland, he is called Sinter Klaas (Santa Claus). He arrives in a boat dressed in his red bishop's robes along with his servant called Black Peter. When they come ashore, all the church bells ring. He then, on a white horse, leads a procession to meet the Queen in the palace.

The night before, December 5, children leave clogs or shoes out to be filled with gifts. Like our children who leave treats for the reindeer, the Dutch children also leave carrots for the horse. Black Peter is the keeper of the naughty-nice list.

Rather than the North Pole, Dutch tradition says that Sinter Klaas lives in Spain. I guess he prefers a warmer climate than our Santa.

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