My advent calender has come up trumps today and has actually given me a christmassy picture of Sinterklaas.
Today, 5th December, is the day when St. Nicolaas or Sinterklaas visits children in Holland. I have such good memories of this magical and exciting time! Sinterklaas is Santa Claus' predecessor... he rides on a white horse and has helpers called Zwarte Pieten (black Petes) who wear colourful chimney sweep outfits and carry sacks of presents for the children. The Zwarte Pieten are mischevious and cheeky and throw sweets and little biscuits around.
In December 2007 Mr B and I visited my family inHaarlem, Holland over 5th December and it was so fun! Zwarte Pieten were everywhere in the town and my little cousins were so excited. The evening of the 5th of December was really lovely - we had a delicious meal and then we gave and received presents. All of a sudden there was a knock on the door and guess who walked in?
It was Sinterklaas! How honoured we were!! He brought 2 lady Zwarte Pieten and he carried a big golden book. Mr B and I were as surprised and excited as the children!!! Sinterklaas knew all our names and knew that Mr B and I came from the UK, that we'd met at university, everything... he even spoke English to Mr B, who doesn't speak Dutch....
I'm working on it!
Sinterklaas is a very wise man... I can vouch for that.