Traditionally, the Dutch wait until Sinterklaas has left before starting the Christmas celebrations. Just don’t tell the big supermarket chains. They start with Christmas preparations in July. Slight exaggeration. I’ve talked about Sinterklaas a lot over the past weeks. I thought it might be handy for those of you who are unfamiliar with the guy to learn more. So, without further ado, here are the five most important differences – according to yours truly – between Sinterklaas and Santa Claus.
Sinterklaas was real. Kind of. According to Wikipedia, he’s a mythical figure – what?!? But he’s based on the legendary Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a 4th-Centry Christian saint of Greek origin who was born in Asia Minor, which is now Turkey. His birthplace is near the tourist resort of Dalaman (which, by the way, is totally worth a visit.)
Sinterklaas helpers. Sinterklaas has Zwarte Pieten instead of elves. The Zwarte Pieten also have really cool outfits, although there are no pointy ears L They throw candy into the crowds. Obviously, they are very beloved. Candy!
Sinterklaas does not live on the North Pole. He lives in Spain and somehow he manages to travel by boat from Madrid to the Netherlands every year. Obviously, he’s just as magical as Santa because a boat from Madrid?
Sinterklaas rides a horse. It has to be a white horse. There are no sleighs to be found. Of course, sleighs don’t work well without snow. And horses are easier to transport on a boat, maybe?
Bad kids go to Spain. Instead of getting coal in your stocking if you’re on the naughty list, you get a trip back to Spain. The Dutch obviously have no idea how to discipline naughty kids. I’ll take a trip to Spain! And I get to be naughty? YES!
Many historians agree that the Dutch Sinterklaas is the basis for the American Santa Claus. I don’t know if that’s true or not as many European countries claim to have a Saint that is the basis of the American Santa Claus, but as I consider myself American and Dutch, I’m going to agree with the historians.