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St Nicholas is coming..........

Today I bought the chocolate letters and the marzipan imiation fruit, and the taai-taai because 5 December is not far off.
You may remember me telling you about it HERE

Before going to bed, on December 5 Dutch children leave their shoes (or clogs) near the fireplace or modern substitute and hope that St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) will send his assistant(s) Black Pete® (Zwarte Piet) down the chimney (or find some other way in, to leave presents.

I have been telling you this, on my previous websites from when I first found the internet in 1996!!
The Dutch established themselves in the U.S., before it was called the U.S., and called the city New Amsterdam. Soon it became New York. They brought with them, the tradition of celebrating St Nicholas Day (Sinterklaas Dag) and soon (like many of us) anglicised it to Santa Claus.

Then there was The Night Before Christmas and there was Coca Cola and the rest is history.

And so, when my children were born here in Sydney, their mother and I revived the tradition, for our family too. My parents and I had forgoten about it until my daughter was born, in 1981, just in time for being two months old at Sinterklaas time.

And so, as in previous years, next Monday, 1st December, I’ll be playing Sinterklaas songs again, in the retirement village, in Chester Hill.

There will be young children attending again, from the local school, wearing mitres, made from cardboard and the village’s residents will be watching as these children (who know much more about Santa Claus than about Sinterklaas) each get to have an audience with the good saint and receive a small gift (……if they have been good!).

My own children (No longer children) will no doubt visit my father (91) (in the same village) and we’ll have our chocolate letters and some pepernoten, and keep the tradition alive.

MORE pictures….here
Some responses, from Dutch-Australians to what they do about St Nicholas Day, here.

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St Nicholas is coming.......... by 

Time to practise playing the piano-accordion again. It’s close to St Nicholas Day.
In recent years, in the Juliana Retirement Village, Miranda, the Abel Tasman Village in Chester Hill and the Rembrandt Club, in St Marys, I’ve accompanied the singing.


st, saint, dutch, nicholas, sinterklaas

In 1969, I enrolled in the “Art Teachers Conversion Course”. It was my first experience of formal art lessons. Soon other interests prevailed, until, I had lunch, in Hazelhurst and then enjoyed the art classes there. Culminating in my exhibition, in 2008.

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  • chasingsooz
    chasingsoozover 5 years ago

    This is my favourite of all the stories you have told so far Jo.

    I am familiar with this tradition due to the dutch family who lived next door when I was a young child and also ,, my best friend … who was german also left her shoes out for Saint Nicholas to fill with sweet treats.

    I vaguely remember a song … "Here comes Saint Nicholas arriving from Spain … (then miss a few words lost over time) … his horses are prancing the deck up and down …and I cant remember any more. I can only hum the tune.

  • Zie gindskomt de stoomboot, uit Spanje weer aan. Hij brengt ons SintNikolaas. Ik zie hem al staan ……..
    That song was presented to primary schools, in the 70s, when we were still (almost) obliged to use the ABC’s music lessons, via the school’s p.a. systems.
    It was in Dutch and in English and came in the ABC’s booklets for primary schools that came with the programs.
    Right from 1964, I refused to use the programs and did my own teaching of songs, with my accordion.
    You’ve touched on the topic I’ve already written about here on RedBubble, Sooz. More than once.
    I’ve heard it said so often: A Dutch family tthat used to live in our street.
    The last one to tell me about it was a Jehova’s Witness who has been coming to my door and happened to catch the train – with me – during that week that my art was on display.
    He too had had a Dutch family down the street, in in the train told me about what they’d ben like and what had happened to them.
    It’s so nice to make this connection with this story. :)

    – MrJoop

  • chasingsooz
    chasingsoozover 5 years ago

    Ahhhh it seems I have shown my age by revealing that song :-D

    I would have learnt it at school .. and it would have seemed all the more magical to me because of the friends I knew who celebrated the coming of St Nicholas. I remember my heart pounding and my voice rising as we got to the part about the horses. It really captured my imagination and lingered in the dusty corners of my mind until you told this story. Thx Jo.

  • I could narrow it down to the year Sooz. I was teaching 6th grade, at Narwee, the year that Zie ginds komt de stoomboot, was in the ABC’s songbook, with an English translation of the lyric.
    Between 1964 and 2001, I remember things I did by thinking of which school I was at.
    Since then, it’s become a blur!! :)

    – MrJoop

  • chasingsooz
    chasingsoozover 5 years ago

    Ok .. out of curiosity – what year?

  • I believe that it was the last year that I was at Narwee P.S..
    That makes it 1978. :)
    The next year I was deployed and was, for a short while _Co-ordinator, Multicultural Education Resources, through the Child Migrant Education Centre, in the Department of Special Programs, Department of Education, NSW.
    It was a bad mistake. The new policy had just come out and there were no (substantial) resources (yet) at all.
    I missed teaching 130%.

    – MrJoop

  • Ozcloggie
    Ozcloggieover 5 years ago

    We made such beautiful music together!!!! *

    Couldn’t help writing that! (LOL)
    I enjoyed playing the Sinterklaas songs, so much that year, at Abel Tasman Village.
    The young lady (There on work experience or something similar????) played the violin so easily.
    O.K. They *are
    simple tunes, but she made it all sound 4 times better!!

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