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Dutch Style Sinterklaas Day Celebration


Sinterklaas comes from Spain to the Netherlands in November. When Sinterklaas arrives a grand parade is held.


After the parade, Sinterklaas visits schools and hospitals. And he returns to Spain on December 6th, the day of Sinterklaas.




Sinterklaas celebration in the Netherlands

Sinterklaas Day is December 6th. But dutch people celebrate Sinterklaas day one day before, on December 5th.

In the Netherlands, there is a long tradition of giving presents on December 5th. It is also called “Present Day” because families eat together and give presents each other.

That’s why Black Friday at the end of November is a perfect day of choosing gifts.



How to get gifts from Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas rides a white horse through the night sky and delivers gifts to children through the chimney.

In the Netherlands, the night before the celebration of Sinterklaas (December 4th), children put their shoes near the fireplace or at the entrance. In recent years, there are no fireplaces, so it is common to place it next to the heater.

Children also put a letter to Sinterklaas in their shoes and a carrot for the white horse. Sometimes they have hot chocolate or beer next to the shoes.

Then, the next morning, there are sweets and presents in the shoes.



The latest style delivery method for gifts

Traditional gifts from Sinterklaas were Pepernoot, Speculaas and letter-shaped chocolates. But toys are now the norm, and it is no longer small enough to fit in shoes.

Therefore, the modern version of Sinterklaas has a different way of delivering gifts.

A map showing where the gift is, or when the doorbell rings and the door is opened, the gift is there.

In this way, the performance of a gift from Sinterklaas become more important.


Traditional sweets of Sinterklaas

Small biscuit, Pepernoot

<photo by: Wytse Kloosterman _DSC7871.jpg via photopin (license)>

Small biscuits called Pepernoten are spiced biscuits mixed with cinnamon, pepper, cloves and nutmeg that taste similar to ginger cookies.



Ginger Cookie, Speculaas

<photo by: Chandra Marsono From Jasper via photopin (license)>

Speculaas are stamped cookies with Sinterklaas or windmills.

The taste varies depending on the shop and household, such as white pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc., and almond flour.



Large Chocolate, Chocolateletters

Chocoladeletters are alphabet chocolates.

Traditionally, give someone you love a piece of chocolate shaped his/her initials.



The Parade of Sinterklaas, Who is Sinterklaas?
When Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands by a steamship it is time to the parade. The Sinterklaas parade are held in cities in the Netherlands on the first Saturday (or Sunday) after November 11th.