Meaning of Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas is a festival which is celebrated every year on 5 December in the Netherlands and Belgium. In addition, it is also celebrated in many Dutch colonies. The name comes from Saint Nicholas Nicholas Bishop of Myra. He became bishop of the city Myra and died on December 6, 342. Nicholas was known as the patron saint of children. First he was honored only in Eastern Europe but later in Europe.


Putting shoes done long ago. Previously this was done in the church. The shoes were put on 5 December and the rich then put something in the shoes. On 6 December, the proceeds were then distributed among the poor. Only later this tradition was taken over by children. Now put children from the time Santa Claus in the country’s shoe.

Christmas Eve 2016 or Pakjesavond 2016 is not so long celebrated as putting the shoes. Before World War II there was no pakjesavond. Only after World War II when the economy picked up was the give-culture going. This made increasingly popular pakjesavond.

Remarkably, since the introduction of the book read Saint Nicholas and his servant have changed some things in the celebration of the feast. The introduction of the book are the entrance, the Black Petes and the steamer added to Sinterklaas. The main change is that previously was not a question of servants or Black Petes. It started with one man and later that two. Only after the Second World War it was first celebrated with Black Peters. Since then it has become a habit.

Discussion on ‘Black Peter’

There is since 2010 quite a big riot and discussion going on between the supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet. Some people would be discrimenerend Zwarte Piet. Proponents defend themselves by arguing that Black Peter has been involved in the festival for many years and nothing whatsoever to do with racism. The debate flares up again every year since 2010, an end or solution is not currently in sight.

Sinterklaas in other countries

Sinterklaas is not only celebrated in the Netherlands and Belgium, but also in many other places. In Switzerland celebrates Saint Nicholas alone it is then displayed on an easel. In Lorraine, northern France Sinterklaas is celebrated. His servant père fouettard. He has red hair and a big red beard. The man looks a bit scary. Previously, the servant rebuked the children who were naughty. Many other countries have variations on Christmas. In many of these countries, children go door to door to sing songs.


02 Jul 2022
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