HE is here again and I must say I am so relieved that there are no believing kids around this house anymore.
Anyway Sinterklaas arrived in Middelburg today by steamer from Spain. Actually he will arrive in every town of The Netherlands the coming weeks and the children will welcome him by singing traditonal Sinterklaas songs.
Sinterklaas is always accompanied by at least one Zwarte Piet and on this picture you can see what they look like.
Traditionally, in the weeks between his arrival and the 5th of December, before going to bed, children put their shoes next to the front door with a carrot or some hay in it "for Sinterklaas's horse", sing a Sinterklaas song, and will find some candy or a little present in their shoes the next day, supposedly put there by a Zwarte Piet or Sinterklaas himself.
Typical Sinterklaas candy include the first letter of the child's name made out of chocolate, a figurine of Sinterklaas made out of chocolate and wrapped in painted aluminium foil, coloured marzipan shaped into fruit, an animal or some other object.
The children, up to an age of usually seven or eight years, almost religiously believe in Sinterklaas. The period between his arrival and December 5 is therefore very exciting.
At family gatherings where a stand-in Sinterklaas in a rented suit appears, parents have reported in advance to this Sinterklaas what the children have done good and bad and make it look like he knows everything about the children when he looks in his big book.
After kids stop believing, families often continue to celebrate the holiday. Also secondary school classes and colleagues at work sometimes celebrate it together.