Christmas in the Netherlands by Abigail

In the Netherlands the Dutch eagerly await December 5th for it is on this day that they celebrate the comming of Sinterklaas avond or St. Nicholas Eve, whose legends of generosity and kindness are well known.

In the Netherlands St.Nicholas is known as Sinterklaas. Dutch childeren are told that he sails from Spain on his feast day, they fill their shoes with hay and sugar for his horse and awake them filled with gifts such as nuts and candy. Sometimes Sinterklaas appears in person in the children’s father  or an uncle. He questions the children about their behaviour during the past year. He hasn’t always been a kind figure but he is now.

In mid -November Dutch television broadcasts the official entry in the Netherlands 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 bishops 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. Sinterklaas is the most important tradition for the Dutch , a 2008 centre for Dutch culture survey found. Celebrated the evening of December 5 is traditional tasty food , it is the main time for family gift- giving.

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