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Sinterklaas

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If you are confused about the title, you are not alone. Sinterklaas is how Dutch people celebrate Christmas. Sinterklaas translates directly from Dutch to Saint Nicholas, and it is more like our Thanksgiving holiday.

On the first day of the week of Sinterklaas, Sint Nikolaas comes from Spain to stay in the city of Rotterdam.  On the night of December 5th, Sint Nikolaas goes around the earth giving everyone presents. He puts the presents into wooden clogs that people leave near their mantle on the 5th. Some people leave carrots in their clogs as a treat for his reindeer. December 6th is like Christmas day for Sinterklaas.

Santa actually came from Sinterklaas. It is believed that Saint Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, which is near Myra, (in modern-day Turkey.) This is the celebration where children are transformed into kings and queens and honored as the bringers of the light at the darkest time of year.

A story is told about three little boys who were at a restaurant and, after eating their fill, informed the innkeeper that they could not pay their bill. To exact payment, the innkeeper chopped them up into little bits and cooked them in a stew.

Then when Nicholas heard about the awful deed that happened, he came to the inn to find the boys who were boiling away in the pot. He told the innkeeper that if he, Nicholas, could find one little piece of each boy that was good, he would perform a miracle and bring the boys back to life. He said this because what child doesn’t have at least one little piece of good in him? And, so, Nicholas Sinterklaas returned the boys to life and took them under his care.

We asked Andre Winkel, a fellow dutch colleague, what he thought about Sinterklaas, and he said that he thought Sinterklaas is the same as American Christmas, except that you put your shoes by the mantle (or fireplace).

Now you know  another version of Christmas that is celebrated elsewhere. You even know how it originated, and a story about it. Now you can celebrate a dutch version by putting a wooden shoe by your fireplace on December 5th. You even know someone else’s opinion on it and that it is similar to American Christmas. Remember that the day  Saint Nicholas was born is the day of a celebration were kids are turned into kings and queens.

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