Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday 5 December

Today is the eve of St Nicholas, the original and only Santa Klaus (sorry). In Holland, Flanders and western Germany, children will have spent the past fortnight or so putting their shoe in front of the fireplace, with a carrot in it. St Nicholas rides the roofs on his white charger, surrounded by Black Peters who do the dirty work of bringing presents. During the night, they wil go down the chimney to collect the carrot and leave a present in the shoe. Children who have been bad will find a bunch of twigs, indicative of punishment. The really bad ones will be taken back to Spain in the sack.

It all starts in mid-November, when St Nicholas arrives in Holland (or one of its towns) in a steamer, well, any boat really, with his posse of Peters. The Peters go off running around, scattering sweeties amidst the assembled children. Towns not near the sea or water will see St Nicholas arriving by train. Or coach if there is no railway station. St Nicholas arrives from Spain, as that is the place where his remains lie interred. Originally, he is from Turkey, but when the Muslims came, the bones were spirited across the Mediterranean to Spain.

I close this post with an image from the island of Vlieland in Holland, where Sinterklaas arrived on a perishing cold day last Friday. Image courtesy VVV Vlieland [Tourist Information]. You can see all images from the VVV on the link.


  1. We have always celebrated St. Nicholas here too at my house along with Santa on the 25th as the main holiday. They are all reminders at this time of year to be generous to others. Happy St. Nicholas Day to you!

  2. Happy St. Nicholas Day!!
    did the children really get taken away in the sack... :)