Sinterklaas in Curaçao
Photo: Tuti Plaate
In a Caribbean celebration with origins in the Netherlands, the Dutch Sinterklaas sails into harbor from Spain in mid-November, with his white horse and an entourage of Zwarte Piet helpers. (Though in Curaçao, the "horse" is a white Ford Mustang!) Families gather in a festive spirit to greet their arrival. A parade follows with the good saint and his helpers throwing pepernoten to the children.
On St. Nicholas Eve, 5 December, children put a bucket of water and a shoe filled with hay or a carrot outside for the saint's big white horse. If they have been good, the shoes will be filled with gifts by morning. If they haven't been good, Zwarte Piet just might pop them into a large sack and carry them back to Spain. During the evening gifts are exchanged in the Dutch way by wrapping them in elaborate disguises and presented with a humerous poem about the recipient.
All of the schools and many toy stores have special Sinterklaas activities where children sing Sinterklaas songs. Celebrations take place in schools, shopping malls, and at home with families.next country