Sinterklaas is a big deal in the Netherlands—even more so than Christmas. On the evening of December 5th , Sinterklaas (the origin of the American Santa Claus) comes from Spain with his piets, or helpers, first by boat and then by white horse, delivering treats to good boys and girls. The bad ones, by contrast, get a switch or a lump of coal.
On Sinterklaas Day, December 6th, folk in the Netherlands exchange fun gifts, write silly rhymes for each other, and have a day of general merriment. Pella’s Dutch heritage celebrates Sinterklaas Day as well. On Saturday, November 26th, Sinterklaas arrives in Pella with a parade that starts at 10 a.m. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite Christmas character—a present, a gingerbread person, a Christmas tree, a reindeer—and walk in the parade.
At the Tulip Tower, the parade stops for a short program on the Tower stage, where the city’s Burgemeester (mayor) reads the proclamation for Sinterklaas Day, the new Pella Tulip Queen (crowned just a few weeks before) greets the audience, and Sinterklaas invites all children and their families to meet him at the Scholte House—the home of Pella’s founder H.P. Scholte—located just across the park.
There, children will receive treats and hear the story of Sinterklaas.
You are invited to make a family member by watching the parade, participating in the parade (line up in front of Scholte Church at 9:45 a.m.), or meeting Sinterklaas after the parade.
And oh….the Dutch letters. Those flaky almond pastries are traditionally made in the Netherlands for Sinterklaas Day, thus shaped like an “S.” You won't want to miss out on those.
Now you know!
For more information, click here.
Photo by the Pella Historical Society & Museums.