Sunday, 21 November 2010


It is that time of year again. Traditions are big around December. Everyone has their own for this time. Some of the traditions are truly wonderful, well to me anyway. Traditions for Christmas and - since I am Dutch -Sinterklaas, our version of Santa Claus. Sinterklaas celebrates his birthday (on December 6th) by giving all children in The Netherlands gifts the night before. A big celebration with lots of little traditions to go with it.

The big news is: Good old and very holy Sinterklaas is in Holland! He arrived last week. Tradition dictates that one of the nights he is in The Netherlands, he spends in Oss. The place I live. Our neighbourhood welcomes the holy man with much delight. This is the itinerary:

The small children make their own lanterns in the afternoon (to be used later). The moment the Sint arrives, a procession is formed. A brass band heightens everyone's spirit and the tour of the neighbourhood begins. People really flock outside to watch the procession goes by, singing and dancing. The Zwarte Pieten and Sinterklaas walk with the children.

The end of the tour is an assisted living accommodation for the elderly at the end of my street. These lovely people have a room ready for The Sint. He goes inside to change into his nightdress and hat. He makes one more appearance on the balcony of his room, before turning in for the night. The children (all waiting outside) sing one last song for him and then everyone goes home.

It really is a beautiful tradition. It is a fun way to bring people together and is just generally very lovely indeed.
You can just about make out the Pieten posing for their picture and a very little Sinterklaasje walking past!

As you can see, I faithfully took pictures, but apparently my camera does not take pictures after dark. The flash was impressive though. 

Next tradition involving our entire neighbourhood is the lighting of the Christmas trees. Again with lots of music, a tour past all the trees in our neighbourhood and lots of people! It is only fitting that it is supposed to snow here next week!

More tomorrow,

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