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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 8 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2018/03/1978-pjc-vedders-modern-mushroom.html

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

{Saint Nicholas | Sinterklaas}

For 3 years and 1 month, I have done free lance writing and features for our local newspaper The Courier Herald, Dublin Georgia. So why not share one of my articles with you here today, as it is the perfect time. 
In many countries, tomorrow is the 'big' day for children. By MARIET(TE) VEDDER (read below the story WHY I changed my name)...
The wooden shoe with the red heart is actually my personal shoe when I was 3 years old... Below this post you find a link: {Our Living Room} where you can see those wooden shoes in front of the fire place.

In the Netherlands, families decorate their homes for Christmas and have Christmas trees just like in the United States. The big difference between the celebration of the two countries is in the gift-giving. In Holland it is not done on Christmas day, but on Dec. 5, Saint Nicholas Day. This is the name day of St. Nicholas who, during the Middle Ages was the Bishop of Myra in Turkey. As legend goes, he bathed and fed and gave each of the 500 poor children of Myra a gift on his day. 

Now Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated in many countries. In Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Germany and Belgium, as well as in the Netherlands, this is the day when gifts are exchanged among family members, and for the children in particular there are all sorts of other rituals connected with Saint Nicholas.

Every night from Dec. 1 on, Dutch children put in front of the fireplace a wooden shoe filled with hay and a carrot for the bishop's horse and cookies and candy for Saint Nicholas and his helper, Peter.  They also write a letter to Saint Nicholas wherein they mention their 'wishes' for the 5th of December. To make sure that it gets his attention, it goes in the wooden shoe, too.
Every morning the children find the wooden shoe empty, which means to them that Saint Nicholas, who rides on his white horse over the rooftops, sent his helper, Peter, down the chimney to pick up the goodies. Saint Nicholas always used a Moorish 'Peter' as a helper because he had to go down the chimney, for this is a 'black' job. 
Then on the evening of the 5th of December, Saint Nicholas personally visits the families and Peter hands out the gifts from a big burlap sack.
If the children behaved all year, they are praised. But if a child has misbehaved, Peter threatens to put him or her in the burlap sack and take them back to Spain. The children sing a song for the charitable duo, and Peter throws little cookies (pepernoten) at them -- not to hurt them but to reward them for their sweet serenade. 
And the nice thing about all this is, that when Christmas Day finally comes, there is another little present under the tree.
Could it be that the expression 'Double Dutch' comes from this?
For those that don't read English I have typed the entire text again, so they can translate it.
Funny is that in 1985, December 4, was also on a Wednesday...
My writing at that time got edited by the editor of the news paper.
So now you know the story of Saint Nicholas. It were the Dutch that brought Sinterklaas to the New World, to New Amsterdam. Present day New York in The New Netherlands. The Dutch word Sinterklaas morphed into Santa Claus... See link below about the origin of Santa Claus.

Related links:
LinkedIn Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder scroll down for reading: Free lance writer and features 
{Our Living Room} previous post where you can see my wooden shoes in front of the fire place
The Origin of Santa Claus Video about history, listen till the end to hear how Sinterklaas morphed into Santa Claus...
{# 148 and my blog is 1 year old today!} previous blog post where I explain WHY I changed to  Mariette


  1. a neat tradition! thanks for sharing your article, and happy saint nicholas' day!

  2. That's a sweet tradition Mariette! Wishing you a wonderful first week of December!
    xo Catherine

  3. A sweet tradition! I love the wooden shoes. I like your newspaper article and thank you for sharing this lovely tradition with us. Happy St. Nicholas Day to you! xx

    1. Dearest Karen,
      Thanks for your wishes! Fond memories and that keeps the tradition alive.

  4. Hello Mariette, I never knew all these details and traditions. That must have been a powerful incentive for children to behave, when the alternative was to be sent to medieval Spain. Torquemada would certainly have ferreted out the truth about that broken vase!

    Seriously, this was a charming post; I especially like the part about the wooden shoes, and that you still have your old one. Putting in hay for the animals adds a further element of consideration, as valid now as it was then.
    --Road to Parnassus

  5. Dearest Mariette,
    what a lovely tradition!
    We put our shoes out too in the night from the 5th to the 6th december...hoping, it will be filled up in the morning :O)))
    Have a wonderful day and week,
    love and hugs,

  6. Leuk Mariette dat je daar aandacht aan besteed...ik vind Sinterklaas zo'n fijne traditie voor kinderen..die mag eigenlijk nooit verloren gaan, maar ik merk op dat de eerste verschijnselen er al zijn...ouders komen op tv, dat ze geen geld hebben voor de kadootjes, dat komt mede doordat de 'kadootjes' groter en groter geworden zijn...het is toch eigenlijk te gek voor woorden, dat kinderen van 9 jaar Blackberry's of Nintendo's in hun schoen krijgen...in hun schoen hè, niet in 'de doos voor de 'grote kadootjes' in DE nacht zelf' en de andere culturen...die hebben kleine kinderen die dit niet kennen, die doen ook niet mee natuurlijk...en de commerce...die probeert het hier op zijn Amerikaans te krijgen, dus met Kerstmis, dan hebben ze een breder publiek natuurlijk..

    Ik hoop echt dat deze traditie blijft bestaan

  7. Liebe Mariette,

    ich stimme den Kommentaren zu.

    Alles Liebe


  8. ah..I sure do know less about history:) so I am glad you are telling me this. The only think I know is the history of NEW york-which it was called new amsterdam previously>..but what's with the moorish influence you sain on my facebook page? I don't quit get it.

    kisses and hugs:)

  9. Leuk artikel Mariëtte. Zolang de kinderen er in geloven is het leuk om te vieren.
    Ik heb het tv programma niet gezien waar Marian over schrijft, maar er al wel over gehoord. Fijne dag, lieve groet

  10. Dearest Mariette happy St. Nicholas to you

    very very nice articles and tradition of the wood shoes.interesting
    You were absolutely right regarding St. Nicholas, it isn't related at all with Santa Claus.
    I'm so happy to read this articles.

    love to you

  11. Dearest Mariette ... I always enjoy reading the various traditions you share with us. I also wish that in North America "Santa" was celebrated on a different day in December - it would be so much easier for children to understand the difference between Santa and Christmas and why we celebrate. Wishing you and Pieter a happy St. Nicholas Day!!! Hugs and Love, C&G (HHL)

  12. CARISSIMA Mariette, complimenti per l'articolo.Non conoscevo questa storia, ed è molto interessante! un bacione e un abbraccio Lory

  13. Dear Mariette, What a wonderful story filled with traditions. I love the idea of a childrens day separate from Christmas day itself. Love your sweet wooden shoes. So special to know how they were used for this special day.
    My father brought back a gorgeous pair from the war which I cherish. Wishing you and Pieter and very Happy St. Nicholas Day.
    Sending hugs and Christmas love, Celestina Marie

  14. Liebe Mariette,
    danke für deine lieben Geburtstagswünsche, ich habe BEIDE bekommen :o))
    Schön, ein bisschen mehr vom Sinterklaasbrauch in NL zu erfahren, die Geschichte mit dem Heu und Karotten fürs Pferd kannte ich nicht. Bei uns in Österreich kommt am 5. Dezember der Krampus (für die schlimmen Kinder), am 6. Dezember der Nikolaus (für die braven) - oft treten die beiden auch gemeinsam auf (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus) - und am 24. Dezember das Christkind. Der Nikolaus bringt Geschenke wie Nüsse, Äpfel, Schokolade (und bestenfalls Kleinigkeiten zum Spielen), das Christkind erfüllt die großen Wünsche :o))
    Hab eine schöne erste Dezemberwoche!
    Alles Liebe, Traude

  15. Liebe Mariette,
    siehst du, da habe ich so manches auch nicht gewusst. Ist immer wieder interessant, über die Bräuche in anderen Ländern etwas zu erfahren. Du hast alles so schön beschrieben, vielen Dank. Da ihr sicher sehr brav wart, wird der Sinterklaas euch morgen sicher mit feinen Sachen überraschen.
    Liebe Grüße, Johanna

  16. Dearest Mariette,
    Thank you for the story of Sinterklaas and the wooden shoes. My maternal grandfather was Dutch, came to the USA as a baby, so we had wooden shoes that were put out for decoration in December. Unfortunately they were no cared for after my mother died and fell prey to mice and rot. However, we have the sweet memories of childhood.
    What a lovely way to remember and honor your sister.
    Enjoy you day...*S*

  17. Dearest Mariette,
    I like the wooden shoes and the story about them.
    I wish you a nice week!

  18. Dearest Marriette, I hope you are having a lovely Christmas Season. Its very hot here in Australia and I am imagining you are hoping for a white Christmas. Hard for me to invisage a cold Christmas and I guess the reverse is so for you. Thank you for your friendship during this year. I love that you never forget me. Cheers Marilyn xx

  19. Lieve Mariette,
    Wat heb je een snoeperige header!!!
    Ja, ik als Nederlandse ken het Sinterklaasfeest natuurlijk van kinds af aan,
    maakten het mee in goede en ''slechtere'' tijden....wat heet slechter.....,nee zó slecht was het niet,het was reuze spannend en heel gezellig wanneer wij op Sinterklaas morgen met z'n 5e de trap af naar beneden liepen,klik maar eens op mijn klomp in de sitebar daar kan je een waar verhaal lezen hoe het vroeger bij ons thuis ging,het zijn de mooiste herinneringen van dit kinderfeest uit mijn leven.

    Later werd het anders,zeker met de grote cadeaus die Har en ik van (schoon)ouders kregen, na 5 jaar verkering hadden we een groot gedeelte van onze uitzet bij elkaar.
    Ook daar waren we zeer dankbaar voor,we eten nog dagelijks van het mooie degelijke bestek bijvoorbeeld en rozenservies komt vaak met Kerst uit de kast.

    Waar blijft de tijd......maar ik ben wel blij dat ik het feest van de Goedheiligman en kindervriend in meerdere generaties heb mogen mee maken,al is het maar om te vergelijken.

    Lieve groeten!!


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