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Friday, December 3, 2010

Sinterklaas .. a typical Dutch tradition !

Hey girls!

I haven’t had time to scrap in the last week, since we have a big Dutch event coming up! Luckily I have some crafty things to share, but before I do, let me explain something about ‘Sinterklaas’, which will be celebrated this weekend!

Sinterklaas is a traditional Winter holiday figure in the Netherlands, Belgium, Aruba, Suriname and Netherlands Antilles; he is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas' eve (5 December) or, in Belgium, on the morning of 6 December. The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of Amsterdam, children and sailors. He is the basis of the mythical holiday figure of Santa Claus in the United States.

Sinterklaas is his usual name. The more formal name is Sint Nicolaas or Sint Nikolaas. He is also known as Goedheiligman or simply Sint. The Dutch never write Sinter Klaas.

Saint Nicholas is also celebrated in the traditionally Germanic parts of France (Nord-Pas de Calais, Alsace, Lorraine), as well as in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and in the town of Trieste and in Eastern Friuli in Italy. Additionally, many Roman Catholics of Alsatian and Lotharingian descent in Cincinnati, Ohio, celebrate "Saint Nicholas Day" on the morning of 6 December. The traditions differ from country to country.

Traditionally, in the weeks between his arrival and 5 December, before going to bed, children put their shoes next to the fireplace chimney of the coal-fired stove or fireplace. In modern times, they may put them next to the central heating unit. They leave the shoe with a carrot or some hay in it and a bowl of water nearby "for Sinterklaas' horse", and the children sing a Sinterklaas song. The next day they will find some candy or a small present in their shoes.

Typical Sinterklaas treats traditionally include: hot chocolate, mandarin oranges, pepernoten, letter-shaped pastry filled with almond paste or chocolate letter (the first letter of the child's name made out of chocolate), speculaas (sometimes filled with almond paste), chocolate coins and marzipan figures. Newer treats include kruidnoten (a type of shortcrust biscuit or gingerbread biscuits) and a figurine of Sinterklaas made of chocolate and wrapped in colored aluminum foil.

Poems can still accompany bigger gifts as well. Instead of such gifts being brought by Sinterklaas, family members may draw names for an event comparable to Secret Santa. Gifts are to be creatively disguised (for which the Dutch use the French word "surprise"), and are usually accompanied by a humorous poem which often teases the recipient for well-known bad habits or other character deficiencies. This is where my crafty creations come in! The children had to make 'surprises' for their Sinterklaas activitities at school and at home. Here are photos of the surprise we have made so far ...

This one is for a 11-year old boy, called Dustin. He loves Donald Duck and we made a massive book cover (check the size of a mobile phone and pen next to it). We changed the name to 'Dustin Duck' to make it more personal. The present are stuck 'in' the book.

This is a massive jar of nail polish. Emma and I made this for a 12 year old girl, who love make up. The presents (nail polish, lipstick etc.) are hiding in the top part.

We made this huge vase with flowers for the teacher ... the presents are in the vase: This is a massive iPhone; I put my iPhone next to it, to show you how big the cardboard iPhone is! I made this for my son, Rick:

So ... no scrapping from me this week, but I still played with scissors, paper and glue!


Auntie Em said...

Oh wow! Those are the most awesome gift wrapped presents I think I have ever seen!
Thank you for sharing! :o)

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic tradition. Lizzy xx