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Nov 26, 2007

Some December Traditions in Andre's Netherlands

Winterland In Maastricht on The Vrijthof
December 1, to January 6, 2008

Winterland Maastricht, on the Vrijthof, features a huge ice rink, a fairground, live music, a train and a Christmas market. Mulled wine, hot chocolate and pancakes in the square round off a magical experience for all the family.

Sinterklaas December 5th

In 2007 the official entry of Sinterklaas was Saturday, November 17, in Kampen. Each year he arrives at a different seacoast town or river harbor. Large crowds gather to greet the good saint, who arrives accompanied by many colorful Piets. Dutch National Television broadcasts the festivities so the entire country may share the celebration.
This is the official start of Sinterklaas season.

Throughout the Netherlands, the eve of his feast day, December 5th is
celebrated nationwide by young and old. Most places of business close a bit earlier than normal. The Dutch head home to a table laden with traditional sweets and baked goods. Chocolate letters are used to decorate each place setting, usually the first initial of each person. They share the table with
large gingerbread (Tai Tai) men and women.

Early in the evening sweets are eaten while those gathered take turns unwrapping their gifts.Traditionally this is the evening that Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet ride across the rooftops of Holland looking for and rewarding
good children with small gifts and candies. In anticipation of the visit, children place carrots and oats for Sinterklaas’ white horse in their shoes by the door.

The following morning, gifts from Sinterklaas, many with hilarious poems attached, are opened and the poems read aloud.

A day of feasting follows. This tradition of a St. Nicholas celebration is credited with being the basis of our Santa Claus tradition here in the United States.

Sinterklaas Arriving in Maastricht

Maybe some Dutch fans can
tell what they do on Sinterklaas ...

5 comments:

Sue said...

As I was reading this I realized I would be spending "Sinterklaas" with André and the JSO ~ I will be at his concert in San Diego on December 5th!! :)

Alice, Canada said...

Haha! Good for you, Sue! What a nice gift for a good girl...
Andre is the best gift from Santa for the whole world too!

I remember my first Christmas in Canada, I was in high school in Halifax then. My form teacher gave me a big "A" chocolate which I didn't want to "demolish".... interesting.....

Sue said...

Ahhh! I didn't think of it that way Alice ~ I must be a good girl if Sinterklaas is giving me André that night! ;-)

That IS interesting that you got the "Chocolate A" back then in Canada, I wonder where your teacher was from ...

Ineke Holland said...

Since my children are grown up and even my grandchildren (they are 16 and 18 years of age), we don't celebrate St. Nicholas any more. We changed to the Christmas celebration. But.... Ruud gave me a nice surprise this year, on behalf of the Saint.....
Toronto here we come!!
Ineke.

Anonymous said...

Ah Sinterklaas...This brings back one of my fondest childhood memories: For weeks prior to the event, at school we were practicing sketches, Sinterklaas songs and making programs, all for the evening (prior to Dec.5th)we were going to perform in front of our parents. The highlight of the evening was when Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet entered the room. Sinterklaas checked his book if we had been good during the year and Zwarte Piet handed out some gifts.
Every evening during the week prior to Dec. 5th, we hung our stocking at the chimney and sung Sinterklaas songs, hoping that Sinterklaas, riding on his white horse over the rooftops, would hear them. In the morning we may find some goodies in our stockings brought by Zwarte Piet.
Finally the big day arrived. On the evening of the 5th the whole family gathered together, drank chocolate milk, ate from the "banket letter" (a pastry filled with an almond mixture) and then mysteriously a basket filled with gifts appeared, some of the gifts accompanied by funny verses....It was the most wonderful time of the year. Grace (I was born and raised in The Netherlands but now live in the U.S.)

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André on The Theater Steps" by Bee

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee

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