Each year, on the same date in November in The Netherlands, a unique custom is celebrated. Last year we experienced it for the 1st time and had no idea what to expect….this year Henry was pretty excited about it.
The arrival of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, know as Sinterklaasintocht is a HUGE festival and celebration for all Netherlanders, with children. Its hard not to have a small lump in your throat as you listen to the parents singing loud and clear to welcome Sinterklaas whilst hanging onto wildly bouncing children (who this year did look as though they might bounce into the river with excitement!)
Although the river height was too great for his arrival into Doesburg at the usual location, the town was ready prepared with an alternative arrival venue. In Doesburg it is lovely as he arrives on a beautiful old boat down the river.
This year the weather was true November murk, and it took a zwarte piet on a water scooter with glowing flare to guide the Sint into the harbour!
There has been much written and broadcast about this tradition and the acceptability of zwarte Piet in today’s society this year. However all i saw and felt on the day was a huge community celebrating a lifelong family tradition that plays an important part in the lives of Netherlanders at this time of year.
Enjoy the images – even in the fog it was a bright and colourful event.
This is the link to last year’s Sinterklaas celebrations blog that I wrote. HERE.