Michiel 2005

Michiel 2005

Posted on 12/04/2006

Photo taken on December  4, 2006

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saint nicolas
sint nicolaas

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Remnant of the Saint Nicolas celebrations

Remnant of the Saint Nicolas celebrations
In the Netherlands Saint Nicolas is celebrated by giving gifts to each other. In the weeks before Saint Nicolas night the people who celebrate it together draw each other's name. Then you buy a gift and hide in a self-made object, called a surprise. You can make just about anything.

There is an alternative way of celebrating for the small kids. Gifts are just put in a large sack (Sint Nicolas's sack) or mail bag and are handed out. Sometimes a obliging neighbour puts the sack in front of the door and knocks hard, as if it was Saint Nicolas himself.

This surprise served its purpose during the weekend, because many families celebrated it this weekend (instead of on December 5, like it should be). I found it in the hall of my apartment building.

Spanje is Spain in Dutch, the country where Saint Nicolas supposedly lives and he travels by steamboat to Holland.