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Presents, Poems and Pepernoten: celebrating Sinterklaas is fun for all ages!

Presents, Poems and Pepernoten: celebrating Sinterklaas is fun for all ages!

December has arrived, and this weekend is a big one for the Dutchies: Sinterklaasavond will be celebrated on the 5th of December! Remember Sinterklaas, the (other) white-bearded children’s friend? He celebrates his birthday on December 5th, and instead of receiving presents himself, he gives them away to the Dutch children! And did you know Sinterklaasavond is not only a celebration for the little ones? Let’s find out more about how young and old enjoy this century old tradition in the Netherlands!

Hoor wie klopt daar, kinderen..[1]

For children in the Netherlands, the night of December 5th may be the most exciting night of the year. Two weeks prior to this date, children traditionally put their shoe by the fireplace at night, where they sing Sinterklaas songs before bedtime. The Pieten (Sinterklaas’ helping hands) come by and fill the shoes with small presents and sweets, like the typical pepernoten (spice nuts). But the real deal is Pakjesavond (gift night). During this evening, children wait in excitement until Piet knocks on the windows and secretly leaves a burlap sack full of presents by the front door. Hopefully their good behaviour will be rewarded with many gifts..

Release your inner poet

Sinterklaas is not necessarily a family matter, it is also celebrated within friend groups and with colleagues. Sinterklaas for grown-ups comes in different forms and shapes. One of them is surprise or lootjes trekken (drawing raffles). In this activity, everyone secretly draws a name of someone in the group, buys him or her a little present and most important of all: writes a funny poem about that person. Do you want to surprise your Dutch friends for Sinterklaas? Success guaranteed if you write them a gedichtje (little poem). Apply www.rijmwoordenboek.nl for some inspiration and start rhyming!

Roll the dice

Another popular game that is played when celebrating Sinterklaas, is dobbelen (playing dice). This nerve wracking game has it all: competition, hilarity and prices! For this game, everyone buys 2 to 3 small or funny cadeautjes (small presents), usually under 5 euros. During the game these presents will be fought for. Each roll of the dice stands for a different event, such as trading a gift, stealing a gift from someone else or giving one of your gifts away. The end goal is to get your hands on the most-wanted gifts. If you want to celebrate Sinterklaas with friends, the Sinterklaas dice game guarantees a successful evening!

Are you ready to celebrate Sinterklaas like a Dutchie? Getting to know Dutch holidays and traditions is a fun way to get familiar with Dutch culture and language! Check out our website to find out everything about the diverse Dutch courses we offer!

[1] A traditional Sinterklaas song, translated as: ‘Children, can you hear who’s knocking?’