Stories from Sinterklaas Celebrations abroad

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!



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.


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.

161214 Elena (in) avatar ZJf4M10uFROM KORINA KOUTSIOTA (GREECE)

In Greece we celebrate St.Basil’s day on 1st of January.

Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great  was the Greek bishop of  Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).

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.

IMG_5874Our GiT Family after having celebrated the Dutch version of Sinterklaas, with little gifts in handmade wrappings and lovely personal rhymes

GiT Network Partner | 1 | Willemien Schwan


In six questions, our ‘GiT Network Partners’ will give their impression of the program and offer some advices to make the life of internationals in Eindhoven happier and easier.

Enjoy and big thanks to Willemien!


Willemien Schwan

Willemien Schwan Gemeente Eindhoven

1.  I AM..

Willemien Schwan,  Account manager Eigen Kracht. Gemeente Eindhoven

I co-operate  with GiT by helping finding jobs or education for women without any social security


A Vibrant and caring organisation! 


Make an effort to learn Dutch.


Stay as you are, but also pick up on the Dutch habits.


If people offer you a cup of coffee/tea: ALWAYS accept it. Remember that the Dutch use their cup of coffee/tea to get to know you better. 


Wishing you all the best in getting to know the Dutch better and I hope you will learn to appreciate them a bit.


A delicious Bhutanese afternoon!!


Gladys López


On Friday, 20th June, I had the opportunity to go to a workshop for making yummy steamed Bhutanese dumplings. This workshop was the second of its kind in the Get in Touch program. However, I wasn’t there at the previous meeting. The people close to me told me: “you should go to the get in touch meetings; this is a program for spouses!! And it is good, because you share your time with people that are here, like you!”

At that time, I decided to jump and join the group!!! Although I have not been to too many of their meetings, I realize how  each meeting, workshop and diverse activity bring to us chances to know friendly people, share, learn and exchange not only words, but also cultures, ideas, laughter, experiences, and enjoy DSCN4297each other’s  company. Of course, in this workshop we learned a delicious recipe from another country. DSCN4316

We had a great hostess, Anita, who let us meet in her home and have the workshop there. Our teachers Sangay, Thuy and Ria had everything ready! The stuffing was mashed potatoes with onion and cilantro. And it was covered with a fine mass layer of wheat flour.

They startDSCN4352ed the explanation on how to assemble and cook the dumplings.  Then, all the ladies began to try to make them. There were very helpful moments where there wasn´t any trial and error, but simply everyone taking a position and making as many dumplings as possible. I even received assistance and other advice from one of our partners (Rong).DSCN4356

Then, while cooking a batch of steamed dumplings, our teachers made the sauce that accompanied the dish, and I have to say: “Be careful with the sauce, because it could be spicy!” But, there wasn´t a problem, the key combination with the dumpling sauce was a total success! That dish will remind you of a similar dish in your country, quite so!! For example, in my country there is something like Bhutanese dumplings and its name is “empanadas”. With Carola, we discussed about this. Even the mass for empanadas contain rice, spices, meet, chicken or mixed, covered it with a fine mass layer of corn flour. Only difference is that it´s cooked in oil, It´s very delicious!!!!!DSCN4367

Also, I had started to join and to be a part of group of dear ladies!!! Guided by people who had a fantastic idea and now it is materialized.  Thousands of thanks for this opportunity.

Gladys López L.