That's what she said !

Saint Nicholaus

Saint Nicholaus arrives tonight here placing gifts in children's shoes. Plus a stick for spanking if they've been naughty.

Do you have this custom or it's just Santa for you?
Permalink Io 
December 5th, 2017 11:19am
Don't the Dutch have a black Pete around now?
Permalink Zaq 
December 5th, 2017 11:56am
Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet on the prowl tonight here in NL.

The young children - who believe in Sint - find their presents tomorrow morning in their shoe that they placed at the stove (but that thing can be hard to find in a modern house - we still had a coal stove with a chimney when I was young, but even that required a lot of imagination allowing Zwarte Piet to enter through the chimney.

Families with older children (or even without children) give each other presents with self made poems and surprises.
Permalink Lotti Fuehrscheim 
December 5th, 2017 12:04pm
You guys having the War on St. Nicholaus this year?
Permalink Shylock 
December 5th, 2017 8:40pm
> You guys having the War on St. Nicholaus this year?

Not certain what you refer to? Zwarte Piet is racism?

On that front we had the Battle of Dokkum this year.

Dokkum is a small city in North-East Friesland where this year's arrival of Sinterklaas was broadcast on national television.

A 'Zwarte Piet is Racism' demonstration was organised in Amsterdam, and they travelled with a convoy of buses to Friesland.

On the highway in Friesland a number of cars drove in front of the buses and then stopped, blockading them. This caused an enormous traffic jam that took time to unravel.

By that time the Mayor of Dokkum decided that it was too late to have an orderly demonstration without endangering all the children, so the protesters were escorted back to Amsterdam.

This is the arrival of Sinterklaas on the Dutch Caribbean isle of Bonaire this year:

https://youtu.be/p7xqn1nhVBI
Permalink Lotti Fuehrscheim 
December 6th, 2017 4:54am
Racism is all about intent.

Is Zwarte Piet intentionally racist?
Permalink Xsw 
December 6th, 2017 5:02am
> Is Zwarte Piet intentionally racist?

Depends on what you call racist.

When the tradition got its current form, there were virtually no black people in the Netherlands.

They were exotic strangers and got a place in the festival as such. Sinterklaas was supposed to come from Spain - the historical Saint Nicolas was from the Eastern Roman Empire, but his remains were brought to Southern Italy in the Middle Ages, and that was ruled by Spain, so Spain it was in the eyes of the Dutch. And Spain had a history of Moors - a word that is still contained in Mauretania and Morocco, so that story more or less made a bit of sense.

The iconography got influenced by American Black Face pictures and 19th cartoons of black people, but without the American context.

Zwarte Piet merged many different traditions: both the ancient bogey that took bad children away and a clown and a bringer of presents, assisting Sinterklaas.

With the bogeyman symbolism largely suppressed during my generation, Zwarte Piet has become a very positive figure in the minds of children. All children want to dress up as him.

In my opinion this is a case of clashing iconography.

However, all the protests do fuel much suppressed racism that comes out during heated debates that brings out the worst in otherwise normal people.

It is a mess.
Permalink Lotti Fuehrscheim 
December 6th, 2017 5:21am
No Zwarte Piet symbolism here, just "Moș Nicolae", where "moș" means "old man", therefore no "saint" references either. He still places the gifts in shoes (ideally cleaned up) but there's no requirements for the shoes location like "at the stove". Usually it's "at the door", since that's where you leave your shoes when you enter the house.
Permalink Io 
December 6th, 2017 7:46am
The name seems related to the Italian "Babbo Natale", in Romanian "Moș Crăciun": https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babbo_Natale

So Santa Claus is "Babbo Natale" here and "Saint Nicholas" is "Babbo Nicole". No saints, just old men.
Permalink Io 
December 6th, 2017 7:50am
>Babbo Natale

Not to be confused with 'Baba Yaga'...

...don't give him a pencil.
Permalink Barry Norman's Ghost 
December 6th, 2017 7:56am

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