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Monday, December 5, 2016

It'll be a cold, cold night...

I know, it's only morning right now, but I bet lots of kids are already eagerly awaiting the coming night. Because then Sinterklaas (who became Santa Claus in the USA) and his faithful servant Piet undertake their voyage over the roofs of the houses to drop presents through the chimneys. Most kids will harldly sleep because they want to find out what the good saint has brought them. Do you know, you can even send messages to the saint. Belgian Post is a willing partner. They even put the 'right' address for Sinterklaas on the red mailboxes...

Of course all of this is a tradition, and an old one. It dates back to times when houses had chimneys and a hearth. You won't find a lot of them anymore in modern housing. And the good man has a servant. Now there comes some controversy, especially in Holland. Some groups claims Piet is a slave, a black man who has a white master. Problem, problem! Did you know they even have protest marches for and against Piet? But ask any kid, and they'll tell you faithfully that Piet is black because he has to climb down the chimney. So he is just a servant, not a slave.

Temperatures will drop tonight. For Flanders they predict -3° Celsius, and for the north of Holland even lower temperatures. The holy man will have to dress warmly!

Just a moment ago, they interviewed some kids at the radio. I had to laugh when a little boy earnestly said: "Sinterklaas is an old man, he was born in Spain many years ago. Won't he find it difficult to walk over those roofs at his age?' Cute, eh?

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