This post is dedicated to my Dutch friends - Wil, Scarlet, and Kirsten!
December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. Known as Sinter Klaas in the Netherlands, the Dutch have special celebrations leading up to December 6. From the St. Nicholas Center:
In mid-November Dutch television broadcasts the official arrival of St. Nicholas and his helper Zwarte Piet live to the nation. Coming by steamer from Spain, each year they dock in the harbor of a different city or village. Wearing traditional bishop's robes, Sinterklaas rides into town on a white horse to be greeted by the mayor. A motorcade and a brass band begin a great parade which leads Sinterklaas and Piet through the town.
Nearly every city, town and village has its own Sinterklaas parade. He usually arrives by horseback, but occasionally he comes by boat, carriage, moped, or helicopter.
In the following weeks before St. Nicholas Day, December 6, Sinterklaas goes about the country to determine if the children have been well-behaved. He and his Zwarte Piet helpers visit children in schools, hospitals, department stores, and even at home. Bakeries are busy making speculaas molded spice cookies for the season.
During this time children sing Sinterklaas songs and put their shoes next to the window or door, or, by the fireplace or heater, along with a nice drawing, a wish-list and a carrot or hay, and maybe a saucer of water, for the horse. If St. Nicholas happens by while checking on their behavior, the next morning children may find chocolate coins or initial letter, candy treats, pepernoten, and little gifts in their shoes. Everyone hopes for sweets, not coal or a little bag of salt. In some families he may stop by every night, but usually just once or several times—and not if the children have been naughty that day or forgot to sing their songs!
The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas on December 5th, St. Nicholas Eve, with festive family parties when gifts and surprises are exchanged. In the Netherlands, unlike other places, adults as well as children join in the fun. As the Dutch like an element of surprise, a small gift may be wrapped in a huge box, or it may be hidden and require following clues to discover where it is.
Legend states when Sinter Klaas leaves the Netherlands on December 6, he returns to his home in Spain (sunnier weather). Perhaps we could entice him to visit us in Hawaii instead. So we shall place our wooden shoes in hopes of sweet treats in the morning!
In honor of Sinter Klaas, let's giveaway Young Adult (YA) books from The Wild Rose Press:
One winner will receive three books:
- House of Wacks by Denise Gwen
- Confessions of a Teenage Psychic by Pamela Woods Jackson
Six other winners will receive one copy of House of Wacks.
1. Leave a comment about Sinter Klaas, chocolate treats, and YA books.
2. Make sure I know how to contact you - send your email to email@example.com
3. This giveaway is open only to US residents only.
Kim in Hawaii