Sunday, December 7, 2008

St. Nicholas Eve in Holland, Michigan

Hi everyone,

Back from Holland, Michigan! Thought you would like a brief report.

St. Nicholas (also known as Sinter Klaas), rode into town on Friday evening. He was on a white horse, accompanied by his helpers, who are named "Black Peter." He rode down the main street in Holland, accompanied by a large group of children carrying lighted paper lanterns. In front of the parade was a town crier telling everyone that Sinter Klaas was coming! He rode down the whole street (which was lined with people on both sides) and greeting children. The parade ended at the end of the street, where there is a summer outdoor market (that is now a holiday market called Kerstmarket--similar to the markets held in Germany.)

At the market, there was a little stage set up, and the children who were carrying lanterns got up on the stage and sang songs to welcome Sinter Klaas. Then the mayor of Holland welcomed Sinter Klaas. The Black Peters were walking around the group, giving lollipops to the kids. (My kids were delighted with this, as they think that Black Peter only gives out coal and switches!)

Sinter Klaas said hello to everyone and wished them a wonderful holiday season, and then kids could come up to him, talk to him and have their photos taken with him. Got a great shot of my son and daughter with Sinter Klaas!

We hoped to visit some museums and go the Sinter Klaas story time on Saturday, but awoke that morning to discover that they were predicting a snowstorm during the day, with up to 8 inches of snow! So we left in the morning. I've promised the kids we will go back in the spring for Tulip Time.

It was a nice trip, even if it was short!

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