Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sinterklaas versus Santa Claus

I am sure you are aware of the Dutch character Sinterklaas. In the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium he is quite known as a big childrens friend. The, short, story is, that every year he arrives in november out of Spain with his big steamer full of presents for everybody. On the eve of his birthday (december 5) he walks with his white horse and his assistant on the roofs and puts all the presents in the chimeys. December 6 he leaves unnoticed back for Spain. The Sinterklaas (or Sint Nikolaas) celebration is a very old tradition in our countries. Dutch painter Jan Steen painted a lovely Sinterklaas scene in the 17th century. Nowadays still a lot af families do the celebration on december 5, called Pakjesavond (eve of the parcels).
The figure of Santa Claus is for a big part based on Sinterklaas. When the Dutch settlers arrived in America in the 17th century they took with them the tradition of Sinterklaas. Later the name Sinterklaas was anglicized into Santa Claus.There are a lot of Sinterklaas songs, bassicly all old nursery rhymes. Hardly any new songs are being made. So we thank The Mieters and Fulco for their new and very original Sinterklaas songs. 
Fulco sings about Sinterklaas knowing everything about him: so he must be a computer. The Mieters are a beat band from Zaandam, north of Amsterdam. They sing about Sinterklaas and his assistent Piet (Pete). They are afraid they will be forgotten and get no presents. The Mieters also like Christmas and made a couple of nice uptempo Christmas songs. We wrote about them last year, read here.