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. 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.
In the following weeks Sinterklaas is seen throughout the island in shopping centers and resorts. He is busy talking with children and adults while distributing treats. Tourist destinations often have special events, encouraging tourists to participate. Children put their shoes by the fireplace or front door each night, hoping for Sinterklaas to drop candy and small toys down the chimney as he flies about each night.
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. Or, if not in the evening of the 5th, gifts are received in the morning of the 6th.
These Sinterklaas celebrations take place in schools, shopping malls, and at home with families.next country