The story of Sinterklaas has his roots in the centuries-old legend of Saint Nicholas, a bishop who was known for his acts of generosity and kind. Over the time, and over various tradition and customs, the legend transformed into the annual celebration we know today: a gentle and wise old man with a flowing white beard, wearing a red bishop’s robe and mitre, surrounded by his helpers known as Pieten. The arrival of Sinterklaas marks the start of the celebratory season ✨ For the entire period children leave their shoes in front of the fireplace hoping that Sinterklaas will fill them with letters made of chocolate or small presents 🎁 On the evening of December 5th, families gather celebrating this tradition and kids receive small gifts and treats from Sinterklaas.
Sinterklaas 2023 – The journey to Gorinchem
Last Saturday, the 18th of November, I had the opportunity of seeing the arrival of Sinterklaas in the cozy town of Gorinchem, located in the southern part of the Netherlands. Every year the location of where Sinterklaas arrives and docks his steamboat changes. The air in Gorinchem was fulfilled with joy and families waiting for him 🥰
Sinterklaas’ steamboat majestically arrived at Gorinchem’s harbor together with his cheerful Pieten. Riding his white horse, Sinterklaas rode all the streets of the cities greeting all the children who waited for him with such anticipation 🤩
Meanwhile, his helpers, Pieten, danced funny and threw small gingerbread nuts (kruidnoten) and candies to the crowd around them. This tradition has the power of taking you back to the essence of childhood, spreading the warmth and coziness of the early Christmas spirit. The generosity extended beyond the gift, giving a special sense of togetherness and community 🏻
Discovering the heart of new traditions
Last Saturday stands as a enchanting statement to the invaluable experiences that an exchange journey offers to those who are embarking it, fully immersing themselves in a new culture and embracing unfamiliar traditions and customs. If it were not for my Dutch friends, who told and encouraged me to delve into the magical world of Sinterklaas, I would never have come to know about him and his history. I would have continued to pass by the stores full of kruidnoten and red bishop hats, chocolate letters -symbols of this holiday – without truly understanding what it was about. Doing an exchange programme gives you the opportunity to discover new lands, customs, and traditions, enriching you more and more! ❤️
If you have any question or further curiosity, feel free to contact me 🥰