Sinterklaas Visits the Marcus House

While there are many benefits to living abroad, one that our children have done their “best” to embrace is as many holiday traditions as possible.  I truly think this is because they think it will garner them more presents over the course of the holiday season!

In Spain, in addition to our traditional American Santa Claus, we also had our caga tio (http://megustatuzapatos.blogspot.nl/2010/12/our-new-catalan-christmas-traditions.html) who would “poop” presents for them on Christmas Eve, and the Three Kings.  We didn’t focus much on the Three Continue reading

Dutch Fall Traditions

While I know that this does not cover everything that happens here in the Netherlands in the fall, I’ve started to compile a list of things that we’ve noticed so far – most of which we are thoroughly enjoying. I’ve no doubt I’ll be adding more to the list as we learn about more and more traditions here in the Netherlands.

Sint Maarten
As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Sint Maarten is the patron saint of the poor and of children. Similar to Halloween, kids go door to door singing a song about Sint Maarten and Continue reading

The Tale of Sinterklaas

Did you know that Santa Claus is not the original Saint Nick?  Nope, he’s not.  The Dutch Sinterklaas beat him to it.  In fact, it was the Dutch who brought the tale of Santa Claus to the US (as Sinterklaas which was then modified over time) back when New York City was New Amsterdam. And get this, everyone celebrates him, no matter what their religion.  He is a patron saint of children – it does not matter what their belief system is, he gives to all.

Both Santa Claus and Sinterklaas are based off Nikolaos of Myra, a Greek bishop known for secret gift giving.  He became Saint Nicholas around the 4th century.  Like our American Santa Claus, Continue reading