Sunday, December 2, 2012


Last weekend we rode our bikes into Laren to see Sinterklaas and his merry elves, Zwarte
Piets.  The Dutch tradition is similar to Santa and his elves but with some interesting
twists.  SinterKlaas's north pole is Spain and he is a patron saint.  Kids start receiving
presents in late November every morning, if they are good of course. And the bad kids, well
they go back to Spain in a bag.  Woops, we ended up scaring Connor a couple of times.

Sinter Klaas' elves are Zwarte Piets are people dressed in black face (see picture below).  History tells us that they were slaves and Sinter Klaas bought their freedom. Today, its explained in "more politically correct terms" that its from the black soot after jumping down the chimney.  Clearly much different from Santa and his elves and how things are celebrated in the U.S.  Probably wouldn't go over that well.

Well, that's enough history for now.  We rode into Laren to see the patron saint and the
town was being overhauled into a winter wonderland.  They built an ice rink in the middle
of town with Chritmas trees and twinkling lights everywhere.  They propped up a neat little
restaurant and area where kids can get hot chocolate and adults can get some their favorite
beverages. Laren is a very charming town.

A side note, now that we have experienced 3 seasons, Summer, Fall AND the very very beginning of winter its interesting to see how the town evolves and changes taking on a different lives.  More on this later....

If you are curious, more information on Sinterklaas' deep history...

Connor and Jessica like to do things together. If one is getting a ride from dad, they other has too.
Sinter Klaas and his horse, Amerigo

                 Zwarte Piet

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