Monday, December 6, 2010

Keeping in Touch with the Dutch

Everywhere in the world you can find Dutch people - whether you like it or not - traveling is in our blood. In Madagascar there is a small community of Dutch people that gets together at least twice a year. On April 30 to celebrate our Queen's birthday, and on December 5 to celebrate the birthday of Sinterklaas. Who? St Nicholas. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children and sailors, and the basis for Santa Claus, the mythical holiday figure in the US.

I like to think of Sinterklaas and Santa Claus as brothers. How else am going to explain my 6-year old?
Sinterklaas is always accompanied by a couple of "Zwarte Pieten', these are his helpers. They're black because they come through the chimney. It has nothing to do with race or Africa or whatsoever, but you can image the confusion by African people when they see white people dressed up as a black persons. Some people find this not P.C. but to them I see B.S, it's just a children's story...

Anyhow...last Sunday Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piet finally arrived in Madagascar. Not on his traditional white horse, but in a Malgashy zebu cart! With sunglasses. So fun!
Sinterklaas arriving on his zebu cart

Zwarte Piet, black with soot from the chimney
Dutch Kiddo's in Madagascar


  1. That's hilarious! It was interesting to see half of our church's kids in your pictures too... Madagascar has managed to attract some pretty quality Dutch people!

  2. Hi, very beautiful blog and nice descritpion of your experience of Madagascar! I just read your article and was wondering if you would know by any chance anybody or any place in Antananarivo where I can get Dutch/Flemish lessons. I plan to study this year in Belgium and I would like to start learning Dutch/Flemish from scratch...

  3. Hi, just read your comment and indeed I may someone. She just moved to Madagascar and is Dutch teacher. If you send me your email address we can talk about it some more