The Book Catapult

Intocht van Sinterklaas!

I was just sitting around with my family on this blustery, 60-degree Southern Californian Christmas Day, reading David Sedaris holiday stories out loud for a laugh. Here’s his “Six to Eight Black Men” story about Christmas in the Netherlands. The creepy Dutch Christmas fable picqued my interest. Sinterklaas lives in Spain and arrives in the Netherlands each November by steamship. He is accompanied by several black-faced (“Zwarte Peit”) assistants (possibly Moorish in origin) who throw candy into the waiting crowds. (This event actually happens and is show on television like a bowl game.) For the resultant holiday, if children are good, Sinterklaas and his team fill their shoes with candy. Bad children may either get beaten by a chimney sweep broom, have their shoes filled with salt or small sticks rather than candy, or may be thrown in a gunny sack and taken back to Spain for the rest of the year. Happy Sinterklaas!

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2 comments on “Intocht van Sinterklaas!

  1. Corey Wilde
    December 26, 2008

    I know some candidates for the gunny sack option. Where do I write?

  2. catnapping
    January 3, 2009

    child abuse, institutionalized: you get to eat if you’re good – you get a beating if you’re not. it’s interesting too…they’re not only threatened with beatings, but their very lives are at stake. children realize by the time they’re 3 years old that they need to be with their moms to survive. so i guess what i’m saying here…is that these children’s very lives are being threatened. they’re denied carbs necessary to maintain weight, they suffer beatings, or even getting yanked from their clan if they displease those bigger than they. so much for the magic of christmas (which i refuse to surrender my belief in). people in europe must have just <>hated<> little children. so many of the fables and fairy tales point to contempt for, if not violence against, children.

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This entry was posted on December 25, 2008 by in Uncategorized.
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