Happy St. Nicolas Day!


I remember about 200 kids crammed in the tiny gymnasium decorated with hand painted pictures of Sinterklaas and brightly adorned walls filled with gold and red tinsels. Not to forget the beautiful atmosphere made up of careful anticipation of the return of Sinterklaas. These were truly the days, I'd waited all year for St. Nicolas and his white horse to show up, along with his faithful servants called Zwarte Pieten (translated as Black Petes). You see, growing up in Holland, Sinterklaas Dag was 'It' for every kid. It almost surpassed the importance of Christmas (for me and my friends anyway) Every year some dude would dress up like Sinterklaas and throw Peppernoten and Speculaas (not sure what its called in English) into the audience filled with screaming children. 

In Holland, we leave clogs and shoes out on the 5th of December to be filled with presents overnight. But shoes weren't just left out overnight at home, no. Where I lived (Den Haag) shoes were left out in front of supermarkets, in schools and even in churches!