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sinterklaas comes in december

Updated on December 22, 2013

Children's Feast on 6th of December

If I'm thinking of celebrations in the month of "December"?

There are of course a lot of celebrations I love in this cold winter months, especially in December, but also in January. First of all there are several "birthdays" to celebrate: my son's in December, mine and my daughter's in January, but also a lot of other family members are celebrating their birthday in those months.

But December is special for me, because of two special celebrations.

Of course, there is the period of Christmas around 25th of December. Christmas days are special for me, because they are for me the best idyllic possibility to be together with the family members, and to share with them warm family days.

But there is also another "special celebration" on 6th of December, what means a lot to all the children. It's the Celebration of Sinterklaas, a celebration, what isn't so familiar or known in other countries of the world, because it's a typical celebration in Belgium, Northern of France, the Netherlands, and a little bit also in some former Dutch Colonies (South Africa, Aruba, Suriname, Curaçao, Bonaire, Indonesia) if the people are Catholic.

"Sinterklaas" is de best-known name, but they also use: "de Sint", or "de Goedheiligman" (Good Holy Man). The name originally refers to "Sint Nicolaas", or "Saint Nicolas", who is a "Saint", celebrating his "name day" on 6th of December (already the evening of 5th of December).

"Sinterklaas" is the patron saint of children. So "Sinterklaas" has a Roman Catholic background, because Sint Nicolaas was the Greek Bishop of Myra. In Spain he is also the patron of sailors, so until today, in the Netherlands it's a custom, Sinterklaas always arrives in a boat or steamboat. Also because of that, people tell the children, "Sinterklaas comes from Spain". Sinterklaas is always assisted by helpers with "black faces" dressed in colorful Moorish dresses, called "Zwarte Pieten" (Black Petes). So the symbolism in this celebration is: the good will be rewarded; the bad will be punished.

But the celebration of Sinterklaas has a long historical story, with an evolution from century to century. So this lens is only a short summary of a long historical tradition.

The figure of Sinterklaas is mostly an elderly, stately and serious man, with long white hair, and a full long beard. He wears a long red cape over a traditional white bishop's alb, on his head a red mitre, and he holds a gold-coloured crosier, a long ceremonial shepherd's staff with a fancy curled top and also has a ruby ring. He carries the big book of Sinterklaas, that tells whether each individual child has been "good or naughty" in the past year. He traditionally rides a white horse.

Gifts and Presents for Children

The Story of Sinterklaas

The "Celebration of Sinterklaas" is all devoted to "children"; it's just entirely for "kids". The story told by adults to the children is, that Sinterklaas is a "holy man", rewarding the "good children" with gifts and presents. He sees all, good or bad things, and during the whole year he notes everything in his "great book".

He is visiting already some weeks before 6th of December all family homes, and leaves some "candies". He only leaves some candies, "if" the children put their "shoe" next to the chimney, because Sinterklaas is able, to enter all the homes through the chimney. For this reason, Sinterklaas indeed needs a lot of "Black Petes" (Zwarte Pieten) to help him with this huge work, and to visit "all the kids". He only leaves some candies in the shoes, if the children put next to the shoes some "sugar" and a "carrot" for the horse of Sinterklaas.

But most of all gifts he leaves during the night of 5th of December, so the children find them in the morning of the 6th. Mostly the Holy Man leaves the presents, according to the wishes, children are writing him in their letters already weeks before "the big day".

What kind of "gifts" and "presents" can the children expect from Sinterklaas?

All kind of Candies

Typical Sinterklaas treats traditionally include all kind of chocolates and/or cookies, mandarin oranges, letter-shaped cookies, chocolate letters, "speculaas" (brown spiced biscout), chocolate coins and marzipan figures. Newer treats include "pepernoten" (a type of shortcrust biscuit or gingerbread biscuits) and figurines of Sinterklaas made of chocolate and wrapped in colored aluminum foil.

Toys and Games

Sinterklaas can read already weeks before all the children's "wishes". So according the child's wishes, Sinterklaas mostly brings in during the night and the morning of 6th of December some of next toys, games, ... : board games, all kind of small toys and/or games, books... Of course, the presents are depending of the child's ages, and of how good their "behaving" has been during the year before.

Sinterklaas Poems and Songs

Famous during the Sinterklaas period (somewhere from mid November until 6th of December) are a lot of Poems and "Songs", kids are singing, at homes, in schools, during local Sinterklaas events and celebrations. Also in Malls and Shopping Centers you hear frequently this Sinterklaas Music, before the Christmas Period really starts. Referring to the website of "St. Nicholas Center", we can add the remark, Sinterklaas can't be the same as "Santa Claus", but there is some common historical basis. In fact, the name of Sinterklaas can't be translated into other languages, but a good translation would or could be: "Saint Nicholas". Nevertheless this "St. Nicholas site" gives a good representation about all you have to know about Sinterklaas. In this site, we found also the best representation of good best known "Sinterklaas Songs".

(The picture : Postcard from the Netherlands, designed by Marjan van Zeyl)

Sinterklaas Kapoentje (Sinterklaas, my dear one)

This song refers to the period before 6th of December, when children put their shoes next to the chimney, to receive some candies.

(If you want to hear this song: find it on the St. Nicholas Center website)

Sinterklaas, kapoentje

Gooi wat in mijn schoentje,

Breng wat in mijn laarsje,

Dank je Sinterklaasje.

Sinterklaas, my dear one,

Something in my shoe put,

Something in my stocking,

Thank you, Sinterklaasje!

Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot (Look There Comes the Steamboat)

This song refers to the fact, Sinterklaas is living in Spain, and he annually arrives with the Steamboat from Spain. Also is mentioned the rewarding of "good behaving children", and how Sinterklaas needs a lot of "Black Petes" to help him.

(To hear the song: open the site of the St. Nicholas Center)

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot

uit Spanje weer aan.

Hij brengt ons Sint-Nicolaas

ik zie hem al staan.

Hoe huppelt zijn paardje

het dek op en neer,

hoe waaien de wimpels

al heen en al weer.

Zijn knecht staat te lachen

en roept ons reeds toe:

"Wie zoet is krijgt lekkers,

wie stout is de roe!"

Oh lieve Sint-Nicolaas,

kom ook eens bij mij,

en rijd toch ons huisje

niet stilletjes voorbij.

Look, here comes the steamboat

from far a-way lands.

It brings us St. Nich'las,

he's waving his hands.

His horse is a-prancing

on deck, up and down,

The banners are waving

in village and town.

His helper is laughing

and tells ev'ry one,

"The good kids get candy,

the bad ones get none!"

Oh, please dear St. Nich'las,

do ride your white horse,

just visit our house,

for we all have been good!

Sinterklaas, Goed Heilig Man (Sinterklaas, Good Holy Man)

This songs refers to Sinterklaas, being a "holy man".

(Hear the song on the website of St. Nicholas Center)

Sinterklaas, goed heilig man!

Trek je beste tabberd an,

rij er mee naar Amsterdam,

van Amsterdam naar Spanje,

appeltjes van oranje,

appeltjes van de bomen

Sinterklaas zal komen!

Sinterklaas, good holy man!

Put your best robe on,

Ride away to Amsterdam,

To Amsterdam from Spain,

Little apples from Orange bring,

Apples from the apple trees,

Sinterklaas will come!

Listen to the Most Favorite Sinterklaas SONGS - Also the Favorites of my Kids

Children Choir "De Damrakkertjes"

Sinterklaas Poll

Do You Celebrate Sinterklaas in your Family?

See results

Make Your Own Marzipan Figurines - Marzipan Figurines Sweets

Learn about Sinterklaas

A Dutch Story

Make Your Own Candies - All Kinds Of Sweet Candies

Duel Debate about Sinterklaas

Would you implement the Celebration of Sinterklaas in your Children's Lifes?

NO - They already have celebrations enough

NO - They already have celebrations enough

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    No comments yet.

    YES - Why not...It's fun

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        My children are grown but my grandchildren would enjoy Sinterklaas!

      Molds for Cookies and Chocolates and Candies

      Sinterklaas is a Good Holy Man - He brings Candies and Toys

      Click thumbnail to view full-size
      A table full of Candies and PresentsCandies and Presents for everyone in the familyA toilet bag and bath oilKneipp Both Oil ScentsCookies, chocolate bars, ...Croky chips, oranges, peanuts, ...Little portions of all kinds of candiesDifferent sweets, distributed all over the big tableAlso a little toy for grandson RobbeHandkerchiefs and candies
      A table full of Candies and Presents
      A table full of Candies and Presents
      Candies and Presents for everyone in the family
      Candies and Presents for everyone in the family
      A toilet bag and bath oil
      A toilet bag and bath oil
      Kneipp Both Oil Scents
      Kneipp Both Oil Scents
      Cookies, chocolate bars, ...
      Cookies, chocolate bars, ...
      Croky chips, oranges, peanuts, ...
      Croky chips, oranges, peanuts, ...
      Little portions of all kinds of candies
      Little portions of all kinds of candies
      Different sweets, distributed all over the big table
      Different sweets, distributed all over the big table
      Also a little toy for grandson Robbe
      Also a little toy for grandson Robbe
      Handkerchiefs and candies
      Handkerchiefs and candies

      Sinterklaas brings sweets and candies - All types of little sweets and candies

      Your Comments are Very Appreciated

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        • poldepc lm profile image
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          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @toweroflifeinc: thanks for your nice comment on my site

        • toweroflifeinc profile image

          toweroflifeinc 4 years ago

          Definitely awesome. Going to have a lot of fun this year! Getting the Canadians to join in... They won't know what hit 'm.

        • poldepc lm profile image
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          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @Jo-Jackson: thanks so much for your nice comment; it makes me feel good...Really appreciated

        • Jo-Jackson profile image

          Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

          A lovely description of this celebration.

        • Jo-Jackson profile image

          Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

          A lovely description of this celebration.

        • poldepc lm profile image
          Author

          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @anonymous: thanks so much for the congratulations...also thanks for your nice comment

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          A delightful look introduction to Sinterklass, a holy man coming before Christmas with treats and good will is a delightful tradition! Congratulations on being featured on the December Silly Celebration Monster Board!

        • poldepc lm profile image
          Author

          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @WriterJanis2: you're most welcome; I'm glad my lens was helpful; thanks for your nice comment

        • WriterJanis2 profile image

          WriterJanis2 4 years ago

          I have no knowledge of this. Thanks or the info!

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          This is a great lens. My granny is from Holland and she taught me "Sinterklaas Kapoentje" when I was barely able to talk, brings back good memories.

        • poldepc lm profile image
          Author

          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @TreasuresBrenda: you're welcome...Thanks for your participation, and nice comment

        • TreasuresBrenda profile image

          Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

          Thanks for the introduction to Sinerklaas.

        • poldepc lm profile image
          Author

          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @floppypoppygift1: happy sinterklaas and merry christmas...Thanks for your lovely comment, visiting and squidliking my Sinterklaas lens...I really appreciate it...

        • floppypoppygift1 profile image

          floppypoppygift1 4 years ago

          As usual, your article is a work of art. I really did enjoy being reminded of my German class lessons about Weinachtsfest! And I passed the quiz barely. Merry Christmas! Cheers~cb

        • poldepc lm profile image
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          poldepc lm 4 years ago

          @RuralFloridaLiving: wasn't easy for me to write it in English...so this published version has still to be corrected very much...But thanks for your nice comment, and your many visits

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          RuralFloridaLiving 4 years ago

          Interesting and informative article - always like to read about other celebrations around the world.