Saint Nicholas at Check-IT – An unforgettable day

On Thursday, 10 December, activity day in CHECK-IT, we Chinese students together with Dutch students to celebrate the Sinterklaas. All Chinese students experienced a special day that we will never forget in our life.
For most children in The Netherlands, the most important day during December is 5th December, when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) brings them their presents. We commence with the preparation form 4 weeks ago, Dion puts everyone’s name into a bowl and everyone picks another person’s name – then they have to make a surprise present for that person. The presents are often things that the person would find useful with their favorite hobby. The presents come with a poem inside that gives a clue to who might have sent the present, but it is all meant to be a mystery!
We gathered in a room, waiting for Sinterklaas and Black Pete. Aydin played Sinterklaas, an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long full beard. He wears a long red cape over a traditional white bishop’s alb, dons a red miter and ruby ring, and holds a gold-colored crosier, a long ceremonial shepherd’s staff with a fancy curled top. Daan dressed up like a 17th-century page in colorful attire, sporting a lacecollar and a feathered cap, he played Piet. When they entered they threw pepernoten at us, the room broke out in cheers and applause, and we sang traditional Sinterklaas songs. Some Chinese children had to stand in front of Sinterklaas because he heard that they have been naughty in the past year. After this, Sinterklaas and black pete had to leave because they had to go to other children.
Then it was time to get our gift. Everybody got a lovely poem and special gift, we read our poem and unwrapped our gift one by one, everyone was very pleased with the gift from Sinterklaas.
It was such a wonderful day, we experienced a part of Dutch culture and learned a different celebration, all of us put a lot effort in it and together we made it a day to remember!!

Thank you Sinterklaas and ‘Zwarte’ Piet!

Cui Ziling (Carina)