Even through a scary storm…
Sinterklaas arrived with Zwarte Piet. They together swept in as the Sinterklaas Storm. They are inseparable apparently.
This photo was posed for yesterday while the storm was brewing. In Germany they were calling the storm “Xaver” but here in Belgium it was called the Sinterklaas Storm. Why? Today is Sinterklaas Dag!
Dag (Dutch) = Day (English)
The storm didn’t do much damage to the Belgian coastline, thankfully, so that Sinterklaas and “Black Pete” could make their way here safely.
Today’s the day children in Belgium wake up to celebrate Sinterklaas by way of receiving hugs and kisses and gifts and candies from their parents and grandparents and loved ones. Today’s also the day that so many people have been fighting over and since my initial blog around the debate, I’ve discovered this:
There’s a Nickelodeon Jr. channel here with a program called Kleine Klaas/Little Klaas that teaches the Sinterklaas story as two boys being lifelong friends and growing up to bring toys to children, etc… I’ve been allowing little Noah to watch Kleine Klaas and he dances along and calls out, “Klaas! Klaas!” with me. He’s not even two yet so that’s pretty much all he can know, right?
It’s a far cry from the ugly racism that overshadows what is supposed to be a day to celebrate children. Just last week my husband Davy and I took Noah to meet Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet at a local event for children and it proved to be just that. The older children enjoyed themselves more than the youngest ones, and Noah didn’t seem too thrilled to be touched by Sinterklaas…
But Noah did enjoy the candy he received. As a matter of fact there were three Zwarte Piets “helpers” assisting Sinterklaas and giving out candy, and holding the umbrella over the head of Sinterklaas.
Blackface. How theatrical.
But there was no ugliness in the eyes of the children. No matter what happens in the grown-up world I won’t ruin ruin Sinterklaas Dag for my own child and other children, and every adult should strive not to ruin things for children, period. I ride fine lines every day living in a new country and raising a child in new traditions.
So today my little family of three is going over to Omi and Opi’s (Davy’s mom’s house) to eat and sing and dance and watch Noah receive a colorfully-wrapped treat and new toy.
Happy Sinterklaas Day!
Update: Noah getting ALL his surprises from Omi and Opi out of a gigantic bag!
Thank you Omi and Opi!