8 Sinterklaas, A Dutch Tradition in Blawenburg

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

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Sinterklaas appears before crowds in the Netherlands.

Credit: Wikipedia

In the third century AD, St. Nicholas, a bishop from the ancient city of Myra, Greece, gave all his money to poor children. St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, is known as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. In the 13th century, the Dutch began the Christmas season on December 6 with the feast of Sinterklaas by exchanging gifts in remembrance of St. Nicholas’s selfless act.

According to the website,, Sinterklaas and his helpers leave Spain on a steamboat each November, arriving bearing gifts in the Netherlands in time for the feast. Before his arrival, children put wooden shoes by their chimney and leave carrots or hay in them for Sinterklaas’s horse. He is said to ride across rooftops on a white horse leaving treats in the shoes.

Dutch wooden shoes at Blawenburg Church

Credit: D. Cochran

Blawenburg Church, whose roots are in the Dutch Reformed Church, remember this day with their own holiday festival called Sinterklaas. It is viewed by many as a beginning to the Christmas season. This popular event offers members of the community an opportunity to purchase gifts for loved ones, buy homemade soups and baked goods for the holidays, and give to those in need as Sinterklaas did.