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Netherlands – De Sinterklaas intocht 2021

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The saintly man arrives each year in mid-November on a steam boat filled with gifts and together with his helpers, all referred to as ‘Piet’ (Peter).

Celebrating Sinterklaas is an official tradition in the Netherlands and is very important in Dutch culture.
The Sinterklaas celebration is the name day of Sint-Nicolaas. Sint-Nicolaas was bishop in Myra (Turkey).he was a lovely man who did a lot of good things.

Other Dutch names for the figure include De Sint (“The Saint”), De Goede Sint (“The Good Saint”), and De Goedheiligman (“The Good Holy Man”). Many descendants and cognates of “Sinterklaas” or “Saint Nicholas” in other languages are also used in the Low Countries, nearby regions and former Dutch colonies.

He can be recognized by his eye-catching red cape with red miter and his long white beard.

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The saintly man arrives each year in mid-November on a steam boat filled with gifts and together with his helpers, all referred to as ‘Piet’ (Peter).

The Sinterklaas celebration is on 6th December. On the evening before (5th December), Sinterklaas and his helpers (Pieten) bring the children presents. The Pieten deliver the presents towards the chimneys. Every Piet has their own talent: talent Piet, music Piet – Sinterklaas has many helpers.

He already arrived in Scheveningen in the harbour on Saturday 13th.
The classic entry on horseback cannot take place due to the corona measures. That is why the steamer now sails over the canals.

This way we can still receive Sinterklaas in a festive and dignified manner in the capital.

From the moment that Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands, children can put a shoe down just before they go to sleep.

The children put their shoe below the chimney or in front of the window.  The children put a drawing or something for Sinterklaas’ horse inside their shoe. Often children choose a large carrot.

Piet will bring the presents for the shoes towards the chimney when the children are sleeping.
Children put their shoe down about three times before the big celebration on 5th December:once at school and twice at home.

Traditional sweets are gingerbread men, spiced biscuits, marzipan and chocolate letters. Satisfy your sweet tooth and buy these sweets at any supermarket or bakery.

5 December
The holiday itself is celebrated in 5 December, when gifts are exchanged.

Children sing songs to Sinterklaas at the top of their lungs until they hear a knock on the door.

If they have been good, they will find a bag filled with gifts just outside the door.

Since Sinterklaas and Peter are not real, adults throughout the Netherlands dress up as Sinterklaas or Peter, much to the pleasure – and often confusion – of small children.

Sinterklaas parades held this year in some cities with restriction.
Some organizers adjusted the parades due to the rising number of coronavirus infections.

In Rotterdam, adults require a Covid access pass in the port of Scheveningen and the Willemsplein.

In Dordrecht, there will not be a traditional parade but instead a closed festival at the Grotekerkstuin with a mandatory QR code check.

Almelo and Amersfoort opted for a motorcade instead of the traditional parade.

Other places, including Utrecht, Roermond, Heerenveen and Akkrum, canceled the Sinterklaas parade this year due to the pandemic.


    Ankita Deshkar

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