Today is a big day for all the children in Holland. He comes. He being Sinterklaas, another version of Santa Claus. He’s a saint, a friend of all children, his birthday is december 6th and he gives the children presents at december 5th, Sinterklaasevening. Today he will be arriving with all his colored helpers on a boat, from Spain. And all the kids are excited. And all the big kids (another word for adults) as well 🙂
This period is always a bit magical for me. Like Christmas. I remember the times I went so see the boat arriving with my mom. Getting ‘pepernoten’, shaking the hand of Sinterklaas and knowing he was in the country again. Later I always borrowed my sisters kids and went to the harbor in my small town with them. Having learned the tricks my mother used on me. She always had ‘pepernoten’ in her coat and gave me a few every now and then, saying a helper (called black pete -and yes, in this time and day of course there is a discussion about his color) gave her that, when I wasn’t watching.
Another tradition is putting your shoe in front of the fireplace. Filled with a carrot for the horse (Sinterklaas rides a horse over the roofs) or some sugar and water. Maybe even a drawing for Sinterklaas or a wish list. After singing one of the special songs (as loud as you can) and going to sleep like a good girl, you might get a present in your shoe. So exciting to go down early in the morning and finding the small present. Later, when you’re big enough and someone told you the awful truth, you would hear the stories about the parents who forgot to take the carrot out and put the present in and the drama they had early in the morning. Being a parent is not that easy in the this few weeks.
‘Zie ginds komt de stoomboot’ – singing out loud.