Here in the Nieuwstraat is 'het Sinterklaashuis', (click to see the digital Sinterklaas house) the house of Sinterklaas. I went there this week to take some pictures of the inside for you, but there were already about 60 kids quieing up. So I just took pictures of the 'Zwarte Pieten' = the black Peters, helpers of the Saint.
The three Peters are posing at a chimney with presents, which they actually will take with them through the chimney. That's why they are so black. Though their color is controversial nowadays, one of the popular songs explains; Piet is as black as soot. The presents aren't black as they are put in the sack. Nowadays the sack is a present carrier, but when I was young (would anyone believe that I lost my faith in Santa more than 40 years ago? I cannot!) the sack was meant for bad children too. Bad children were put in the bag and would travel back to Spain with Santa to get reeducated. Our parents all had easy jobs during the last weeks of November and the first of December.
This was me back then. I wear my self made necklace, I like that. If you look carefully you see that I have something in my hand, a sweet, as I was actually too little to join the Saints' party at my fathers office, I got a little sweet, probably a chocolate, which I never ate. I saved it for months and months as it was a precious gift given by the Saint. But it could have been one of these too:
These are sugar animals, I don't see them anymore, probably because of too much chemical colors which drive a lot of kids nuts. If I had one of these then it's no wonder I didn't eat it, I didn't have a sweet tooth as a kid at all. It's strange that some things just disappear.
Another page of the old Sinterklaas book I bought a couple of weeks ago. Under the rack you see a bunch of twigs which every Zwarte Piet carried with him in the sixties, but has fallen into disgrace for obvious reasons. Not only we were threatened to be taken to Spain, but for lesser crimes we could be spanked with the rod (we call that bunch of twigs a 'roe').
Every night I was allowed to put my shoe in front of the chimney. I would sing a couple of songs, put some sugar lumps in my shoe for Santa's horse. Of course the old Saint doesn't walk on the roofs anymore. His horse climbs on the roof duhhh! And of course he has his helpers. December the 5th is the climax; we are having an evening full of packages from the Saint then. And not just packages. There are rhymes too, with funny or educational contents. Some people even have their gifts disguised as what we call 'surprises' (pronounced as the french surprises). For example if you always like to craft your present is disguised as a giant glue stick. At my home we celebrate 'Sinterklaas' with packages, no surprises but every package has a rhyme.
And we like a lot of packages!!
So it's quite busy at the moment.
Next Monday we will be having a Sinterklaas diner here with my husbands colleagues, so I'm decorating already. I have a string inflation in my foot :-( it hurts, rest is best the doctor says, but there is no time at this moment, sorry, too busy. That might explain why I haven't answered your email yet, or didn't comment on your blog (yet). Sorry about that!
After December 5th the Sint just disappears. As a child I thought that was so unfriendly. First welcome the man with a lot of people, then take all the presents and then he had to sail out on his own. Why were they no children to wave him goodbye? I just couldn't understand.
Aan de Nederlandse dames hoef ik natuurlijk weinig over Sinterklaas uit te leggen. Maar misschien weten jullie ook niet dat de Sint tijdens zijn verblijf in Nederland in de Nieuwstraat in Dordrecht in het Sinterklaashuis (aanklikken voor digitaal Sinterklaashuis) verblijft. Ik was er heen gegaan om wat foto's te nemen, maar het was al te druk om binnen te komen. Ongelooflijk dat ik 40 jaar geleden mijn geloof verloor, ayyyxxx ik kan het zelf nauwelijks geloven. Op de zwart wit foto was ik nog heel erg gelovig, het snoepgoed dat ik in mijn hand had werd niet opgegeten maar maanden bewaard, of was het een suikerbeest? Die lustte ik niet, nu zie ik ze nooit meer. Ook uitgestorven dieren? Als laatste een foto van Sinterklaas avond het afgelopen jaar. Het eerste jaar dat iedereen ingewijd is in het grote geheim. Wij doen nooit surprises maar wel heeft elk pakje een gedicht. Maandag hebben we hier Sinterklaas diner met de collega's van mijn man, druk, druk, druk dus. En dan heb ik nu net een peesontsteking in mijn voet :-( Dat verklaart wellicht waarom ik nog niet op jouw blog gereageerd heb of waarom ik je mailtje nog niet beantwoord heb.
Verwonderden jullie je er ook altijd zo over dat de Sint met zo'n stille trom vertrok? Waarom konden we de boot niet uitzwaaien en Sint nog eens bedanken, ik begreep er niets van als kind.
Voor iedereen een heel fijn weekend, hopelijk schrijf ik hier snel weer, maar nogmaals het is loeidruk hier, dus het kan even duren,
xoxo LiLi M.