December 5th, "Pakjesavond"!
Thursday, 26th November 2015 -
Last updated on: Wednesday, 2nd December 2015
It's almost Sinterklaas!
On december 6th, the good Saint Nicholas celebrates his birthday and goes ‘back to Spain’, legend tells us. On the 5th
, most Dutch children will celebrate ‘pakjesavond’.
This means that a neigbour, relative or friend of the family will pretend to be Sinterklaas or ‘Piet’, by rapidly knocking on the front door or window. When the children go out to look who’s knocking, they won’t see anybody, but instead find a sack of presents from Sinterklaas.
During the time Sinterklaas is ‘in the Netherlands’, Dutch people buy an average of no less than 6000000 kilograms of pepernoten (kruidnoten)
are one of the most popular Sinterklaas-treats.
Also popular are chocolate letters
, chocolate Sinterklaas and Piet figurines, frogs and mice
, chocolate coins
are small round nut-shaped speculaas-like biscuits, and loved by all.
Pakjesavond is celebrated with family. Children get to stay up a little longer, unpack their gifts, and eat candy.
Some elementary schools give children a day off on the 6th
, so they can play with their new toys.
Children are taught several Sinterklaas songs, a way to thank him for the gifts they have been given.
One of the songs almost all children know is “Sinterklaas Kapoentje”.
It goes like this:
Gooi wat in mijn schoentje,
Gooi wat in mijn laarsje,
Dank u, Sinterklaasje!
(Sinterklaas, put something in my shoe or boot, thank you, Sinterklaas!)
If you’re not familiar with the Sinterklaas tradition, the part about the shoes and boots may sound a little strange, but Dutch children are allowed to set their shoe in front of the fireplace (or kitchen/central heating, because not many houses have a fire place any more these days) a couple of times before they go to bed at night.
They sing a song for Sinterklaas and Piet to hear, and when they wake up, they’ll find a toy or some candy in their shoe if they have been nice.
So, will you be celebrating Sinterklaas this year?
There’s still time to finish your last-minute shopping for Sinterklaas goodies!
For everything you could possibly need, click here.
Yummy Dutch wishes you a GREAT Sinterklaas!
Tags: Sint, sinterklaas, piet, pete, zwarte piet, pepernoten, kruidnoten, december, pakjesavond, chocolade