When we were having our Sinterklaas party in the Get in Touch Group, stories came up from various spouses about familiar Sinterklaas traditions in their home country (or especially home town)
Elsewhere, Sinterklaas is likewise celebrated on 5th or 6th of December, but also in other places on the 31st of December or 1st of January. Besides specific rituals, there seem also some familiarities between the different kinds of celebrating this children’s feast.
Three of our Get in Touch spouses have sent in their interesting info and lively warm experiences with Sinterklaas (or St. Basil) back home.
Great memories .. enjoy!
FROM JANARA KUSHUEVA (KYRGYSTAN)
In our country everybody celebrates New Year (not in religious context) on 31 Dec. People are excited, they buy lots of food, presents, visit each other; restaurants are full at that day, girls rush to beauty salons :), etc.
When I was a kid I loved this event. We used to participate in celebration, where Santa and his assistant girl entertain us. If a kid dances or tells Santa a poem he would get a present. Presents were amazing with special chocolate, waffles, candies etc. I’ll never forget their taste!
People like to dress nice on that day; they call each other by phone to congratulate. Some companies give a bonus salary to employees, and deliver presents to their kids.
FROM ANA AZAROV (MOLDOVA)
Sinterklaas in Netherlands is very similar to Sinterklaas in Moldova. In Moldova, Sinterklaas is called Moș Nicolae (eng. Mosh Nicolaye).
Children are waiting for Mos Nicolae on 5th of December in the evening, but on 6th of December it is celebrated in the church as Saint Nicolae (religious name for Moș Nicolae).
There is a service, and usually the priest is telling people about life and facts, which Saint Nicolas has done during his life. Parents tell their children that Moș Nicolae is not coming to naughty children, and in order to get some presents they have to be kind and listen their parents.
Children find the presents in their shoes which they had put close to the chimney. When I was a child , I usually got from Moș Nicolae sweets, in our days there was a variety of presents. It is considered more as a holiday for children.
Our version about Sinterklaas is, that he was born in Patara, Turkey. He was helping people who were poor, giving them gifts when they were in need. He was fighting for religion and he is protector of sailors.
FROM KORINA KOUTSIOTA (GREECE)
In Greece we celebrate St.Basil’s day on 1st of January.
In addition to his work as a theologian, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labour.He is considered a saint by the traditions of both Eastern and western Christianity.
In Greek tradition, he brings gifts to children every January 1 (St Basil’s Day) — unlike other traditions where Father Christmas arrives either on December 6 (Saint Nicolas Day) or on Christmas Eve (December 24).
It is traditional on St Basil’s Day to serve vasilopita, a rich bread baked with a coin inside. It is customary on his feast day to visit the homes of friends and relatives, to sing New Year’s Carols, and to set an extra place at the table for Saint Basil.
Basil, being born into a wealthy family, gave away all his possessions to the poor, the underprivileged, those in need, and children.
A similar story exists for another Greek bishop, Saint Nicolas of Myra. Over the centuries the two legends have blended together, though the Western Santa Claus remains associated with Nicholas, while the Eastern “Santa” is identified with Basil.
Our GiT Family after having celebrated the Dutch version of Sinterklaas, with little gifts in handmade wrappings and lovely personal rhymes