When Does Santa Claus Come to the Netherlands? When are the presents handed out? Is anything happening on December 24?
The Netherlands has its unique and enchanting way of celebrating the arrival of Santa Claus, known locally as Sinterklaas. Let’s delve into the festive timeline to understand when Sinterklaas comes to the Netherlands and when the eagerly awaited presents find their way to the excited hands of children.
1. The Arrival of Sinterklaas: December 5th
According to Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas arrives on the evening of December 5th, bringing joy and merriment to households across the country. The arrival is marked by a grand procession, with Sinterklaas sailing into towns on his steamboat, accompanied by his mischievous helpers, the Pieten. It should also be mentioned that he officially arrives in the country from Spain on the first Saturday after November 11 and in the period between that Saturday and December 5, he watches the children to see who is behaving in a good way.
2. Present Time: December 6th
The magic continues on the morning of December 6th, when Dutch children wake up to discover whether Sinterklaas has left them treats and gifts. To receive these surprises, children often leave out their shoes on the night of December 5th. The Pieten, with their playful spirit, fill the shoes with candies, small toys, and other delightful goodies.
This day is not only about material gifts but also about the joy of giving and sharing. Families come together to exchange presents, and the festive spirit envelops the entire country.
3. December 24: The Christmas Eve Question
While December 24th is not traditionally associated with Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, it does raise the question of Christmas Eve. In Dutch culture, Christmas Eve is indeed celebrated, but it is not as prominent as the festivities surrounding Sinterklaas.
On Christmas Eve, some Dutch families may exchange small gifts or enjoy a festive meal, but the main gift-giving event remains tied to Sinterklaas on December 5th and 6th.
In summary, the enchanting arrival of Sinterklaas on December 5th sets the stage for a festive celebration, culminating in the joyous exchange of presents on the morning of December 6th. While Christmas Eve holds its own significance, it is the unique Dutch traditions surrounding Sinterklaas that truly capture the hearts of both young and old during the holiday season.