Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet

Yesterday, we celebrated St. Nicolas Day. Five kids (15 months to 7 yrs) loaded up on chocolate, gingerbread, and taai-taai while awaiting the odd, rumbling noises (well-time washing machine) indicating Sinterklaas and his mischievous helpers, the Zwarte Piet, left presents somewhere in the house. Instead of chocolate, Cooper finished off the carrot we left for the Sint’s horse, Amerigo, the night before.

The festivities – like all things here – were refreshingly civilized. Youngest-to-oldest gifts were unwrapped, one-by-one. Then an adult returned to the basement for another round.

After lunch, I played a round of Candy Land with two Dutch boys (3 and 5 yrs old). Humbling and enjoyable at the same time.

While in general, the story of Sinterklaas and Santa Claus are the same – the specifics are far more interesting (I highly recommend David Sedaris’ retelling (“6-8 Black Men”). Also, the separation of this children-oriented gift-giving day with the more family-oriented Christmas feels much more comfortable than overloading everything into a single day.

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