HISTORY OF SINTERKLAAS DAG
In keeping with Dutch tradition, the Dutch Heritage Boosters sponsor a Sinterklaas Dag celebration the first Saturday in December. This celebration was part of the community as far as 70 years ago, and was revived in the late 1980s.
Sinterklaas is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children. The feast is celebrated with the giving of gifts on St. Nicholas' Eve, December 5, and on the morning of December 6.
Sinterklaas is based on the historical figure of Saint Nicholas (270–343 AD), a Greek bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey. He is depicted as 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 mitre on his head and wears ruby ring. He holds a gold-colored ceremonial shepherd's staff with a fancy curled top. He traditionally rides a white horse. Sinterklaas carries a big, red book in which is written whether each child has been good or naughty in the past year.
Sinterklaas is assisted by a mischievous helper named Piet. Piet's colorful dress is based on 16th-century noble attire, with a lace collar and a feathered cap. He is typically depicted carrying a bag which contains candy for the children.
The festivities traditionally begin each year in mid-November, when Sinterklaas and Piet arrive by boat at a designated seaside town, supposedly from Spain.
In places a boat cannot reach, Sinterklaas arrives by train, horse, horse-drawn carriage or even a fire truck.