It's the 5th of December:
Today on the 5th off December, the Dutch people will celebrate Sinterklaas. In my previous blog about Dutch habits I explained about this holiday and the heavy discussions either "Zwarte piet"(black Pete) is racist or not. Not only in the Netherlands, No, the UN decided to establish a black pete workgroup to speak out en CNN broadcasted a documentary called blackface made by Roger Williams.
Sinterklaas is a celebration for many centuries in the Netherlands. Every third Saturday of November he arrives with boat of presents in the Netherlands. The rest of the year is lives in Spain. Sinterklaas is an very old stadily men. He looks a bit like a bishop because he wears a red stola and red mitre. The Sint always carries a red book. In this book it is been written if the children good or naughty this year. Sinterklaas has a horse and with this horse he walks over our roughs. When Sinterklaas arrives all the children are excited what they will get.
His arrival and the feast:
Since I was a little child his arrival has been broadcasted by the Dutch public television. When he arrives all the children will put theurBefore the children go to bed they wil put their shoe in the room or in the before a chimney.In their shoe you will find a drawing or a wish list and a carrot, hay or some water for the horse. The next morning they will find a small present or most of candy which we call: Strooigoed, pepernoten or letters of chocolate. We only eat this candy only at when Sinterklaas is in the counties. And offcourse, I should not forget to mention a large repertoire of ancient, old-fashioned songs which will sing every year. Older children will never tell the younger. That's an unwritten pact.. Well and I can injure you that no child will get traumatized when they find out that all these years the present you thought Sinterklaas gave you were actually bought by your parents. You can compare it with Santa Claus, who got mainly inspired by our Good holy man(goedheiligman.) However the man really did exist once because the got inspired by a real Saint who founds it roots in Turkey.
Most children are 8-9 when they've been told the truth. I told my daughter in the summer because when it is not on the experience at the moment it is much better to accept. For my daughter all the pieces falls in places. A men who never dies as if. 'But mommy who bought me the presents? Owww you guys! Then she's thankfull and she proud that she's old enough to know THE SECRET. Older children will never tell the younger. That's an unwritten pact.
Sinterklaas visit the school:
Yesterday he visited the school of my girls. As you can see in the movie, he can walks very good for a men that more than 200 years old. It was really that they made a story that the pieten and the horse was missing so the firedepartement brought Sinterklaas(see movie) He will visit all schoolclasses. The younger believers will get a present and the will children have made surprises. That's a craft with a present inside for your classmate. A few weeks ago they dray lots and my daughter draw a boy. he made him a Lego doll out off carbon cut. Tonight my is Pakjesavond(presentevening)….... I'll let my neighbour bounce very hard on my door and suddenly a jute bag with presents is right in front of my door. The children are excited all day. They can't about anything. The pakjesavond is not complete without poems. You write a poem for your love one in the name of Sinterklaas.
The heated discussion: Black Pete is racism
Well, what's the story with black pete? you must think......... when I grew up I always was told that black pete was black because he always climbs in the chimney. We dindn't have a chimney but okey......... Nowadays we have a multicultural society with lots of people out of Suriname en the Antilles(our former colonies). And off those people got hurt by the appereance off black pete whicj reminds them of the slavery.
Well, a few years ago some guy: Quincy Gario spoke out and whore a Tshirt with Zwarte Piet is rascsm. Well the nation was upside down and heavy discussion started. You wont't believe it but it was the main topic in talkshow and the news. There was a facebook side with pete shouls stay which had like 2,5 like is few days....(for your info we have 17 million residents). I totallyy understand the sentiment of my fellow natives. because of your childhood sentiments. The main argument of the people who want to keep black pete that is not based on the slavery but he got black my the chimney. which is partially true.But if you look at our history.... In 18th centuries Sinterklaas did not have a helper. Jan Schenkman who was a writer of children books decided that he needed a helper so he created a black pete. He inspired black pete on the appearance of black pages that were brought to our country to serve the nobility in owe country. With this information in your head I think you must say that a good idea if black pete will have a make-over.
Change is difficult. When is was at the schoolplayground I talked to my neighbour. He was upset that the petes had had stripes and no blackface and I was like.....why...do you see any child cry? I told him what I told you but I had to choose my words very carefully... because he reacted very heavy....because it is not rasicm and And the slavery has been gone for more than 200 years bla bla bla. I told him a bit of our history and said to him that it is white arrogance to keep calling to is not rascim. and that is a good thing that after so many minority have the guts to speak up. We don't know how it feels if your ancestor have been slave so we should not judge about it. The feel the freedom to do that and that's a good thing. We have to listen to that. Even it only 1 person you hurt with the appereance of Pete. Because we don't have to get stuck on 18th century story....We don't have chimney...so it is logic that the story adjust to 21th century and second of all... we owe it to the people. I'm glad we see that pete has to change... My neighbour took a deep breath and told me I may have I point.......Yessss. Now I'm off to do the last preparations for pakjesavond. I hope you like reading this blog and feel free to comment
One movie is with the wonderful songs of Sinterklaas and other one explains in english this topic