Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sinterklaas culture

Today is Sinterklaas! I went to see him at the school of my children and we'll celebrate it with presents and poems this afternoon. Last year I have been

Originally uploaded by joitske.

boring you with several blogposts, this year only once!

In the newspaper, people wrote about Sinterklaas as the ultimate expression of fantasy and play: a whole country doing its best to make children believe Sinterklaas arrives by boat from Spain... There is also a nice turn-around of hierarchy, the mayor of the city where he arrives, has to receive Sinterklaas with regards. Maybe that's the part I like, that everyone for 2-3 weeks is busy with a person that doesn't even exist.. (Sttt!) There is a special daily news edition of sinterklaas on television and internet for instance.

Last year I talked to people who had not been born in the Netherlands and felt discriminated because Zwarte Piet is the helper of the White Sinterklaas. It seems to me that it is hard for an outsider to really feel and grasp what Sinterklaas is about, if you haven't experienced it as a child. From the outside it may definitely look discriminating or even slightly racist. I don't experience that at all, my children are convinced zwarte piet are white people, but black because of going through the chimneys.

I will upload a Sinterklaas song on my playlist (you can find it on the right side), if anyone want to hear a sinterklaas song in Dutch. Still can't upload pictures to my blogposts but I found a workaround by blogging the pictures straight from flickr.

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