Wednesday, 4 December 2013


“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.” - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Sinterklaas (or more formally Sint Nicolaas or Sint Nikolaas; Saint-Nicolas in French; Sankt Nikolaus in German) is a traditional winter holiday figure still celebrated in the Low Countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as some parts of Germany, French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois. He is also well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Indonesia, and Suriname. He is one of the sources of the holiday figure of Santa Claus in North America.
Although he is usually referred to as Sinterklaas, he is also known as De Goedheiligman (The Good Holy Man), Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas) or simply as De Sint (The Saint).He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas' eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December in the other countries. Originally, the feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas – patron saint of children, sailors, philatelists, and the city of Amsterdam, among others. Saint Nicholas being a bishop and this geographical spread make clear that the feast in this form has a Roman Catholic background, although the papacy has never officially recognised his existence.
Having spent some time in the Netherlands, I thoroughly enjoyed the Sinterklaas festivities where people dress up as the saint and his black helpers to give gifts to children, who are delighted with the visit from the kindly old man and the jolly helpers.
Poetry Jam this week is all about gifts and as a mention was made of Saint Nicholas’ Day (December 6) and since it is my Name Day, here is my Sinterklaas poem:
A Sinterklaas Poem
A funny day, a lovely day,
A zany day so full of play!
To friends, with wishes sung
A happy day to old and young.
As Sinterklaas comes by again,
With Zwarte Piet from Spain,
I wish to you his gifts does bring,
A toy, a book, …a golden ring!
We all enjoy the fun, the laughter
And lots of sweets to eat straight after.
There’s cake and chocolate, lots of candy,
But as for me, I’ll drink the brandy!
Seek high and low, go out and in
You’ll find your presents with a grin:
In sawdust smothered, under beds,
In socks, in wardrobes or in bread!
The kindly saint, he smiles and blesses,
The youngsters’ heads bends and caresses.
To all who’ve been good all year,
Old Sinterklass will give good cheer.


  1. That captures the heart of the season, and a lot more here than just fun.

  2. Oh, I like this. You have written a clever poem for your name day. I am hoping all children have been good this year and will be rewarded with toys and sweets!

  3. Ha ha! Great little ditty and perfect for the occasion!

  4. Delightful... wish I'd had this poem when I taught 2nd grade Christmas Around the World unit.

  5. Your name day! How wonderful .. this delight of a poem needs a huge audience of old and young alike!

  6. a delightful enjoyable..lovely :)

  7. how fun is this post- and the poem is delightful! Cheers!

  8. I especially enjoyed this. We spent several years in the Netherlands and I really enjoyed this holiday. (And today is Dec. 5)

  9. I never heard of Sinterklass before! A fun lesson with a fun poem too! Enjoy your brandy!

  10. Nicholas, I am hoping you will make your way through the blogs of the people who have responded to you so far on Poetry Jam and even perhaps adding a few more. We do like to be a reciprocal community. Thank you.

  11. So very fun! My roots are Norwegian, so there's Santa Lucia also :-) Brandy is perfect for those cold Nordic nights

  12. Very sweet poem! I enjoyed the tine and the rhymes. In northern France people used to give presents on Nicholas day now they have swirptched to Christmas.