The Dutch tradition of “Sinterklaas” begins at the beginning of November, even earlier if shop keepers have their way, and they mostly do .
The shop windows start to fill up with all the Sinterklaas attributes: gift-wrapped cardboard boxes, replicas of Sinterklaas and “Zwarte Piet” (Black Pete), chocolate letters, pepernoten. Halfway through November there is a big spectacle when the man arrives in the Netherlands. A television crew awaits his arrival at one of the more photogenic ports where he docks his steam boat full of presents, Zwarte Pieten, and his horse. They are welcomed by a huge audience of parents and children.