In Holland we believe in the holy Saint Nicholas, patron of the children. He arrives from Spain in our small county by steamboat. Don't ask me why. He celebrates his birthday on December 5th, and that is when the children get gifts and sweets... if they have been good all year, because Sint knows and sees everything.
A few days before the big day of December 5th, children put their shoe in front of the chimney to get some sweets. Saint Nicholas is always accompanied by Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters) who enter the homes through the chimney, hence their blackness.
This week our own Saint Nicholas arrived in Madagascar....not by steam boat but in a Zebu cart, but we kept singing Steamboat anyway... ha ha...
As I child I fiercely believed in all this. All children do, until the age of 6 or 7. Soleine is now 8, and I had to tell her that Sinterklaas in Madagascar is not the real one, because Antoine was going to be Zwarte Piet. But most children want to believe so hard, that they refuse to give up. Soleine still believes in the real Saint and she put her shoe several times.
|Not easy to be Zwarte Piet in the heat|
|Vol verwachting klopt ons hart|
|Soleine (8) is no longer afraid of Saint Nicholas|