In the Netherlands, they celebrate Sinterklaas. That celebration started in the middle of November, and goes through December 5th. He comes in on a boat, riding a horse. Then he goes through the streets with a parade, and a big hoopla. Children are supposed to leave a shoe out every night, with a carrot or some hay for the horse, and hopefully Sinterklaas will leave a little something in your shoe!
We had planned to attend the celebration of his arrival, but it was the day after the Paris attacks and we just didn’t feel comfortable being in a large, unsecure crowd. So we skipped it this year.
Here are some pics from the internet so you can see Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piets….
Here he comes in on the boat.
Sinterklaas on his horse.
And of course, the oh-so-NOT-politically-correct Zwarte Pieten.
Sinterklaas lives in Spain (while Santa lives in Finland), and his helpers/servants (Zwarte Pieten – Black Peters) help keep track of the naughty and nice kids. Much like Santa Claus…but different.
You can read a break down on the differences between Sinterklaas and Santa Claus here: The Dutch Review.
Even though we missed Sinterklaas’ big debut into Breda, MyMan’s company did have a Sinterklaas party which we attended. We really didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be a lively party, and the girls ended up having a good time (even though it took a while to warm up to the idea of it all).
The event was set in a club, so the lighting was a little strange, but there was plenty of room, and the music was good!
It was all in Dutch, so of course we couldn’t understand anything they were saying, but there was quite a bit of talking while the kids sat, then they would stand up and start a song, and the kids would dance. Lots of conga lines happened! You can see Oldest in the picture below in the green and white striped shirt. A Zwarte Piet is behind her.
While it didn’t take too long for Oldest to get into the party, Littlest wasn’t sure about it AT ALL! She stayed with me and MyMan in the back most of the time with this look on her face:
Eventually she warmed up to it a little bit, and joined in the fun. By that time, Oldest was full on into the party mode, and enjoyed talking to the Zwarte Piets.
Each child received a gift from Sinterklaas too! The girls loved that!
At the end of it all, the girls did have a good time, and all ended well. It was actually MyMan’s birthday the same day, so after the party we went into the city center and had some dinner. It ended up being a really lovely day!