Orders must be placed by October 31st to be sure that they are here for the 9th Annual Dutch Open house. Held as usual at the Marina Market on Sunday, November 16th from 1-3 P.M.
In Holland tradition has it that you give a Chocolate initial to others as a Sinterklaas gift. First names, Last names or nick names are all acceptable.
Many people give the letter S for Sinterklaas.
From The Holland Ring The Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, is an annual event which has been uniquely Dutch and Flemish for centuries. St. Nicholas' Feast Day, December 6th, is observed in most Roman Catholic countries primarily as a feast for small children.
But it is only in the Low Countries - especially in the Netherlands - that the eve of his feast day (December 5th) is celebrated nationwide by young and old, christian and non-christian, and without any religious overtones.
Although Sinterklaas is always portrayed in the vestments of the bishop he once was, his status as a canonized saint has had little to do with the way the Dutch think of him.
Rather, he is a kind of benevolent old man, whose feast day is observed by exchanging gifts and making good-natured fun of each other.
It so happens that the legend of St. Nicholas is based on historical fact. He did actually exist. He lived from 271 A.D. to December 6th, 342 or 343.
His 4th century tomb in the town of Myra, near the city of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, has even been dug up by archaeologists. Click on the link for the real story of St. Nicholas, who was a real live person!
Also from The Holland Ring:
All Dutch children know that Sinterklaas (the name is a corruption of Sint Nikolaas) lives in Spain. Exactly why he does remains a mystery, but that is what all the old songs and nursery rhymes say. Whatever the case may be, in Spain he spends most of the year recording the behaviour of all children in a big red book, while his helper Black Peter stocks up on presents for next December 5th.
In the first weeks of November, Sinterklaas gets on his white horse, Peter ("Piet") swings a huge sack full of gifts over his shoulder, and the three of them board a steamship headed for the Netherlands. Around mid-November they arrive in a harbour town - a different one every year - where they are formally greeted by the Mayor and a delegation of citizens. Their parade through town is watched live on television by the whole country and marks the beginning of the "Sinterklaas season".
I will be getting 120 assorted dark and milk letters next week to start us off for the season.