Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas 2013: Happy St.Nicks Day

Gammy Becky is a world traveler. Usually every year, she and her friend Helen take a trip to somewhere amazing. This past summer, it was Holland. Well St.Nicholas Day is a big deal there, and Gammy Becky gave Griffin a "St.Nicholas Day Celebration Kit" for Christmas, and last night we had our "Sinterklass" party.

She made a little booklet that taught us about the tradition and how they celebrate.

And he got his very own wooden shoe (The children put their shoes out on night before St.Nicholas Day and fill them with hay and carrots for Sinterklass's horse. Then Sinterklass leaves them goodies in their shoes.)

Our set has a little brush that tucks in the shoe for cleaning, and Griffin decided it was for brushing his hair.

Often during their Sinterklass celebrations, the kids have a treasure hunt for presents. So Gammy had given us several gifts wrapped up and we hid them around the living room for Griffin to find. He LOVED this.

Then we opened them all and read more about the traditions. There were some yummy treats we got to eat...

And some cute ornaments we got to hang (this ones elmo).

And a book and a miniature set of wooden shoes, and chocolate in the shape of our first initials. Yummy!

It was such a fun gift and we enjoyed getting to have a little piece of Holland in our living room.

Here is some more info on the tradition via Wikipedia:

"The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, on 6 December (19 December in most Orthodox countries), is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. "Santa Claus" is itself derived in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas.... Traditionally, in the weeks between his arrival and 5 December, before going to bed, children put their shoes, traditionally next to the fireplace chimney of the coal-fired stove or fireplace (or in modern time close to the central heating radiator). 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 a 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."

Happy St.Nick's Day!

- Mrs.Pate via my iPhone

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