zondag 5 december 2010

Sinterklaas/ Santaclaus etc

Predecessor of Sinterklaas (= Sint Nikolaas), Santa Claus: Saint Nicholas
It is said that Sinterklaas was the predecessor of Santa Claus. Historians believe that Dutch and German settlers took the tradition of the celebration of Saint Nicholas, with them to America and there ‘Sint Nikolaas’ (=Sinterklaas) turned into Santa Claus. Over the years American culture changed a few things, for example, the Dutch children believe that Sinterklaas comes from Spain while the American children believe  Santa Claus lives on the North Pole.
Funny is that the Dutch people now celebrate the birthdays of both Sinterklaas and Santa Claus.
Sinterklaas, Santa Claus
The helpers of Sinterklaas is ‘Zwarte Piet’, this originates from the African Slaves a few centuries ago. 
Americans see this as a characture of racism.
Zwarte Pieten: Originally Moorish slaves
In our Sinterklaas tradition the Zwarte Piet brings the presents to all the good behaving kids and the naugthy kids get slammed with a Rhoo:
Zwarte Piet with presents (in a sack) and a Rhoo
In America, when they took over the Sinterklaas tradition they changed these Zwarte Pieten into elves which work for ‘Santa”:
Christmas elves of Santa
Which I found most remarkable of all is the tradition in Austria..
They also have ‘Sinterklaas’ (from German/Dutch tradition) but the helper/punisher is quite distinctive. This creature is called Krampus and when Sinterklaas arrives it is accepted to be normal that Krampus trows with logs!! To me that doesn’t look like a CHILDREN’S celebration?

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