Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Better Know a Christmas: The Netherlands

It's oddly appropriate that the first "Better Know a Christmas Tuesday" of the season just happened to fall on December 6th. For those not in the know, "Better Know a Christmas" is one of my many unpopular blog post series in which I tell my five readers about the traditions of Christmas from around the world. In today's featured country, The Netherlands, December 6th is Sinterklaas, their version of St. Nicholas' Day.

Oh, they still celebrate Christmas, which still falls on the 25th, but they celebrate this one beforehand. European countries getting two Christmases is one of many reasons why I regret America being founded by temperate prudes. Also, The Netherlands is also sometimes called Holland for some reason. Yet another reason to hate those prudes.

According to my ten minutes of research: On this day St. Nicholas, here called Sinterklaas, who looks like this:

Santa Pope is not amused.
is highly regarded as the Patron Saint of Sailors, and he travels from Spain to the Netherlands to give gifts to the good Dutch girland boys with his helper Zwarte Piet.

Yeah...this guy. I've explained before that while we in America and other western cultures know of him employing elves, European Santa Lore dictates Mr. Claus having a helper to punish the wicked. Here, he's named Zwarte Piet or Black Peter and he delivers candy and overall amusement to the children.

Depending on the country of origin, he's either a man from the Moors (African), a naughty child that was kidnapped by Sinterklaas (their version of Santa) to serve as a warning to other children while covered in chimney soot (I don't know which one is worse, actually), or in countries like Germany he's either a Santa-like helper or a demon named Krampus that either kidnaps naughty children or simply whips people with reeds. As I've mentioned in the past, Krampus is freaking awesome, and a much better holiday figure than some guy in blackface.

But getting back to traditions, they pretty much celebrate Christmas the same way they do everywhere else. Food, wreaths, carols, trees, the works. For some reason, Christmas trees are called Paradise Trees and for some reason people also build wooden pyramids that are decorated with wreaths and crap.

THAT'S a Christmas Pyramid?! I love those, they're amazing in a delightfully kitschy way. I'll confess that I absolutely love Kitchy Kristmas Krap, and those pyramids are right up there with nesting dolls and that advent calendar that I have that I fill up with scratch-off lotto tickets. I think it's becoming obvious that I wrote that above paragraph before writing this one.

When the big feast comes along, you better believe the common folk eat like kings. According to this one random page on the internet, the Dutch like to eat "North Sea shrimps; smoked fish (especially salmon and eel); soup; roast or stewed poultry or meat, such as duck, turkey, beef, wild boar or venison; and some choicest seasonal vegetables."

Looks like they use Christmas Crackers, too.
Oh baby, I hate to be on this part of the world right now. Fucking prudes.

For the rest of the moth, I'm going to ask everyone I meet if they wanna go Dutch for Christmas. Surely they'll mind, right? I consider this Christmas better known, if I may say so. Until next time, don't forget to check out the other Christmases that I've Better Known:

Great Britain

Follow Me on Twitter!
"Like" Beaming For Bunnies on Facebook!

"Like" my Simpsons Quote of The Day Facebook Page!

Wait a sec..."Kitschy Kristmas Krap?" "KKK?"...that's not good...

No comments: