Saturday, 27 November 2010

Sinterklaas kapoentje!!



Two years ago, I came here to visit my newly wedded husband while he was doing his Masters. I was there around November and stayed until the end of December. It can only meant one thing in the Netherlands; festive seasons!! Yes it was about time for Sinterklaas and Christmas. What caught my attention though, was Sinterklaas.
When I first heard about Sinterklaas, I thought it meant Santa Claus. I was wrong, of course; in fact it wasn’t even close. Sinterklaas is actually an abbreviation for Saint Nicholas, a bishop from Myra, now in Turkey. It is a big cultural celebration here, perhaps bigger than Christmas itself. For an unknown reason, the Dutch had Sinterklaas sailing to The Netherlands from Spain. He would arrive by steamship somewhere around mid-November and left sometime on December 6th, bringing along with him Zwarte Pieten (The Black Petes) to help him distributes presents for well-mannered children. The Black Petes would climb down through the chimney, hence the black face. The mischievous ones would be sent back to Spain.
What appeal to me most about Sinterklaas are the food and the presents. I know Sinterklaas is approaching when there are kruidnoten, speculaas koekjes and pepernoten. Sinterklaas is mostly awaited and celebrated by children. However, the adults have their own way of celebrating Sinterklaas as well. A few days ago, we celebrated Sinterklaas with our Dutch class teachers and classmates. In the Dutch culture, when adults celebrate Sinterklaas, there is a present exchange ceremony. Each one of us must bring a present and write a short poem describing what’s inside the parcel in Dutch. The verses were read aloud and each will try to translate them to English. We played a little group game and at the end of the evening we unpacked our presents. We walked home with a box of chocolate and a mini vacuum cleaner. Hmm, I’m so looking forward for the next class. Until then, tot ziens!! See you in my next entry.

2 comments:

  1. Kak Tim mesti dah pandai berbicara Belanda kan??? Harus donk since I see some Dutch words in this page...nanti kapan2 diajarin yach.


    * Please consider to share ur experience in Tong Tong Fair kat blog nie.....

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  2. tong tong fair tu x pernah pg lg..dh pandai la sikit2..kena belajar bhs kalau tak rugi..

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