Sinterklaas, hij komt!

"Sinterklaas kapoentje,
gooi wat in m'n schoentje,
gooi wat in m'n laarsje,
dank u Sinterklaasje."

"Santa Claus ... just something to rhyme with 'schoentje')
put something in my (little) shoe
put something in my (little) boot
thank you (little) Santa Claus"

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Who is Sinterklaas? 

Sinterklaas is the Dutch iteration of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Christian Bishop, and is the central figure in the revered Dutch holiday celebrating St. Nicholas Day on 6 December. Sinterklaas wears a red mitre, holds a staff and has a long beard. Though the historical Saint Nicholas lived in modern-day Turkey, Sinterklaas resides in Spain with his helpers, the Pieten, who travel with him to the Netherlands every November to celebrate his birthday. Sinterklaas brings presents for all the children in the Netherlands, or at least those whose names are on the "good" list in his big book of names. 

Intocht (Arrival) 

Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands in mid-November (the first Saturday after 11 Nov) by steamboat from Spain along with his helpers. A different city is selected each year as the official arrival place, Sint arrives in his boat, greeted by hundreds of children waving flags and many dressed up as Sint or Piet. He then does a tour of the city on the back of his white horse, Amerigo. The Pieten are a favorite among the children, with some on roller skates, and almost all giving out candy and pepernoten.

The intocht this year is in a secret location, to avoid crowds. 

Shoe Setting and Pakjesavond

Once Sint is in the Netherlands (and when the parents allow), the children “set their shoe” in the evenings by singing a little song, and leaving a carrot for Amerigo. Sint leaves them little presents like a pencil, some pepernoten or a chocolate letter.

The birthday of Sinterklaas is 5th Dec, the main celebrations take place on 5 December, or pakjesavond (present evening). In the early evening, children are supposed to sing songs for Sint. Then there is a knock at the door and a sack of presents is found by the children on the doorstep. Once children are older, another tradition is to write poems and make "surprises" for one another.

On the evening of the 5th December, large chocolate letters - the first initial of each person present - serve as place settings, a basket filled with mysterious packages stands close by, sweets are eaten. Everyone takes turns opening gives and reading poems out loud so everyone can enjoy the impact. The emphasis is on originality and personal effort rather than the commercial value of the gift.

Songs

Here are a few of the songs sung whilst the gifts are being opened

"Zie ginds komt de stoomboot uit Spanje weer aan
Hij brengt ons Sint Nicolaas, ik zie hem al staan
Hoe huppelt zijn paardje het dek op en neer
Hoe waaien de wimpels al heen en al weer"


Look, yonder comes the steamboat from Spain
It bring us Saint Nicholas, I already see him standing there
His dear horse is prancing around on the deck
The banners are blown left and right

"Sinterklaas kapoentje,
gooi wat in m'n schoentje,
gooi wat in m'n laarsje,
dank u Sinterklaasje."

 

Santa Claus ... ('rooster' - meaningless word, just something to rhyme with 'schoentje')
put something in my (little) shoe
put something in my (little) boot
thank you (little) Santa Claus

Zie de Maan Schijnt door de Bomen

"Zie de maan schijnt door de bomen
Makkers staakt Uw wild geraas
't Heerlijk avondje is gekomen
't Avondje van Sinterklaas
Vol verwachting klopt ons hart,
Wie de koek krijgt, wie de gard
Vol verwachting klopt ons hart,
Wie de koek krijgt, wie de gard"

 

See the moonlight through the trees,
Comrades stop that wild noise (be quiet)
The great night has arrived
Santa Claus's night
Our heart(s) are beating expectantly
Who'll get cake and who'll be punished
Our heart(s) are beating expectantly
Who'll get cake and who'll be punished

For the children

Each night whilst Sint is in the Netherlands, there is a news programme for children called the Sinterklaas Journal, which can be viewed here, please note this is an external website please check the content prior to viewing with your children https://sinterklaasjournaal.ntr.nl/

You can watch the intocht live on https://www.zapp.nl, please note this is an external website please check the content prior to viewing with your children

Sinterklaas Fun

Download and colour our fun sheets! Once you've finished why not share them with us at pto@ash.nl and we'll display them on our website!

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