Sinterklaas is arriving on his steam boat this afternoon, my dd can't wait she is going to dress as Zwarte Piet keeps telling me how excied she is. The first time I encountered sinterklaas and Zwarte piet I did find it all a bit strange especially the blacking of Zwarte Piet.
Well Sinterklaas visited my dd's school last leaving chocolates in her shoe that she had made, Zwarte Piet on the other hand messed up the class room and drew love hearts on the windows not to sure about this, greta that Sinterklaas visited by why did Zwarte Piet have to be naughty.
Seriously I find it hard enough living here without arguing with the Dutch about their customs. Unfortunately I think it takes living away from your country to really see things from other peoples perspectives.
My little one had a whale of a time on Saturday, but I'm afraid I agree with lego in the sense that Piet is outdated - how many of you would object to golly dolls in England? The Piets are the same horrible old colonial view. Can Sinterklaas not just have helpers without the blackface and acting the twit? I don't think all the people waving and smiling in Roermond on Saturday are racists, but I do believe the Piet concept itself is. It's impossible in my experience though to discuss this at all rationally with most Dutch people, that infuriating shrug and blank look thing they can all do takes over.
We did the shoe thing with the grandparents on Saturday night, she loved it, we'll do a couple more and then do the pakjesavond on the nearest weekend to the 5th with the whole family, it's always fun, but it can be done without blacking up the kids faces you know.
Fine, I'm "deeply in denial". I'll continue treating all people I meet equally and with the respect I believe they deserve, and I'll keep my happy family memories, if that's what "denial" is all about. It's the intention that counts, that's all.
Oh, honestly. You think you can't implicate someone who loves the tradition while you're going on about collective guilt? Don't tell me you're suddenly averse to confrontation? Yes, you are calling me a racist, because anyone who stands by and doesn't say something about it and encourages racism- as you say, "perpetuates very offensive racial stereotypes" is racist. Don't patronise me by trying to characterise my reaction.
I saw lots of friends talking about the sint's arrival in Antwerp at the weekend. Felt very nostalgic for those days. We have plenty of other traditions here for the kids to enjoy, but the Sint, and sinterklasjournal was something really special.
quirrelquarrel, you think you are not being racist. You keep telling yourself that. You are doing the classic defensive knee-jerk reaction. I am not accusing YOU of being a racist. I am merely pointing out that you are perpetuating very offensive racist stereotypes and that there is something deeply disturbing about teaching children that blackface and ''slave niggers in wigs'' are an amusing spectacle at Christmas time.
I shall now leave this thread as I do not want to continue what I knew would be a futile exercise in trying to point out the obvious to people deeply in denial.
I must admit I did find it strange why people were blacked especially as there many black people living in the Netherlands,but I have never gotten the impression that black people living here consider it racist. I certainly bnever started this thread to talk about racism.
One thing I have repeatedly been told is that if you live in a country you need to assimilate and by celebrating Sinterklaas with my dd and ds I am trying to do that by taking part in Dutch culture. There arelots of things about the Netherlands I don't like but I didn't start a thread to have a whinge about the country I choose to livein it is supposed to be light hearted.
Oh ffs legosaurus don't pour cold water on what has to be one of the sweetest traditions for kids ever in that corner of the world. I have such fond memories of Sinterklaas. I am in no way a racist and neither is anyone in my family. My grandfather was staunchly, absolutely 100% anti-racism, as we all are, but he was very vocal about it.
Some of those counter responses are weak and frankly bizarre "let's not go off topic", but isn't that how a lot of people win arguments, by pointing out their opponents' hypocrisy? How can I have been subconsciously taught to be a racist when I present no outward manifestations of it (which is what racism is about- I'm counting thoughts and attitudes in that, not just actions). "It's xenophobic to think that criticism is coming from outsiders" is this for real? are you kidding? "Traditions change with the times"
Bonfire night celebrates the burning of a Catholic who was set up. As a Catholic (whose ancestors emigrated to avoid starving to death due to those nasty Brits) I find no offence at all at watching the bonfire or telling the children of the origins of this fire. Well maybe it's not the same, but I'd not keep the children away from the bonfire, just because of history.
Quirrel my dd goes to Dutch school and her friends mum seems to be buying her loads of presents each time I see her she tells me more things she has bought.
Sinterklaas comes to her school on the 5th, I am not sure what they day we have to go to the school on evening next week to prepare. The camera is cool, its made for children and does lots of things, she loves using my camera so I thought it was a good present especially as when we are in Australia she can take lots of photos and won't pester me to borrow mine.
My favourite food athis time of year is spekulati with marzipan in the middle.
I always dread this time of year. It is a hideously racist spectacle. Blacking up, donning a woolly wig and painting your lips red is hugely offensive, no matter how supposedly ''innocent'' the intention.
You would never, ever disguise yourself within a racist caricature costume of a Jew to celebrate a major festive season, so why oh why racist slave caricature of a black person? Would you instead dress as a ''slut'' or a ''fag'' for Midsummer? The insistence of clinging to offensive caricature and building a children's event around it is truly baffling. Oh, yes, that's right, it's ''tradition'', so let's just carry on.
I have family all over NL but they don't have the foreigner's eye view and I might as well be a foreigner having been here for so long.
On the 5th, when we lived over there, my mum would pop us out for some quick errand, and when we came back- mysteriously- there'd be a pan of warmish hot chocolate on the stove for us to drink. No regard for health and safety, that Sinterklaas! Then "very late" (well, when it got dark- for a toddler me, that was probably about 7 or 8) there was a knock on the back door, and my parents would send me running out to check what was going on- and I'd find two big sacks of pepernotjes and a carrot and my parents would be urging me to "hurry back! quick! come and see something disappearing out of the window!" (I always missed it....), and then my dad would play the traditional music and we'd phone my grandma. And then presents :D slightly less elaborate in the UK except I had to sing, although in later years I escaped by playing the piano....
A camera is a brilliant SK present! wow! I always got little things- a book, a film, a stuffed toy and food. I remember getting a little charm bracelet one year. Carrots- for the white horse.
Quirrel if I had the room, don't really understand exactly what we are meant to do on the 5th. We go see Sint and will go to DH's party at work next week.
My dd and ds will get one present in their shoes mainly because I bought dd a camera to take to Australia and it will be a bit late giving it to her for Christmas as we leave Australia on the 27th. I will buy them both chocolate letters although will probably help eat my ds's plus put pepernoten in their shoes, don't know about biting carrots.
I was just going to post a Sint thread! I love this part of the forums and lurk all the time, but never post really. I remember going to Sinterklaas stuff early when we lived in Holland.
Bur! the 5th is soon (well...sort of) upon us! For the first time I get to play Sint for someone else....I've already received a pack from him, well, Oma (shh). There's a German girl in the next corridor and we got rather excited one Saturday night when we realised we both did it (never too old! haha)...so I think I'll get her a chocolate letter, pepernoten and maybe some speculaas, I'll see. There's German/Belgian people in my classes too, so we might just have to have a kiddy night and leave our shoes outside (who has to bite the carrot and make the steps in the fake snow?). sooo weird to think this is my first ever Sinterklaas away from home. At least I won't have to sing this time <bittersweet memories>
Does anyone else have the Charlotte Dematons book Sinterklaas? gorgeous detailed illustrations- SO worth it! Wish I'd brought my copy here (the author is incidentally lovely too- I wrote her a letter and she sent a package to me!). I think in bookshops it must be the standard price of 13,99, which is a lot, but maybe eBay it? I have a poster of the boat illustration in my room.