Hart & Soul

05 Dec 2007 831 views
 
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photoblog image Sinterklaas on December 5th

Sinterklaas on December 5th


Thanks to Astrid's gentle persistence (!), I went to one of Amsterdam's posh department stores last Saturday and found Sinterklaas.  222 photos later, I have chosen this one for SC today.  If you want to see more and in color, click here.

Sinterklaas will come this evening from Spain, riding his white horse, true to Holland's tradition, to give his many gifts to all the good Children of this country.  Names will have been drawn and special gifts made to present tonight, along with playful poems written.

This is new stuff for me but is something I need to know because our Santa Claus in the States is based on THIS Dutch tradition!  You're never to old to get your education!

[Today I'm in Amsterdam.]


Sinterklaas on December 5th


Thanks to Astrid's gentle persistence (!), I went to one of Amsterdam's posh department stores last Saturday and found Sinterklaas.  222 photos later, I have chosen this one for SC today.  If you want to see more and in color, click here.

Sinterklaas will come this evening from Spain, riding his white horse, true to Holland's tradition, to give his many gifts to all the good Children of this country.  Names will have been drawn and special gifts made to present tonight, along with playful poems written.

This is new stuff for me but is something I need to know because our Santa Claus in the States is based on THIS Dutch tradition!  You're never to old to get your education!

[Today I'm in Amsterdam.]


comments (33)

Cool :d
Ginnie Hart: I'll take that, Suby! smile
  • ray
  • Thailand
  • 5 Dec 2007, 00:37
An extremely elegant 'claus, Ginnie. Your picture is all class, too.
Ginnie Hart: Always a sweetheart, Ray! Thanks.
  • Martin
  • United States
  • 5 Dec 2007, 03:34
This is hilarious. Sinterklaas in lace and a perplexed little girl. Wonderful shot, Ginnie!
Ginnie Hart: See! It surprises you as well, Martin! We aren't used to THIS kind of Santa Claus, are we! Thanks.
  • rags
  • United States
  • 5 Dec 2007, 04:38
I also feel so educated. Superb image.
Ginnie Hart: Yup. A day of education is worth a lot, I'd say! Thanks, Kanyi.
  • Astrid
  • Temporary residence of Sinterklaas
  • 5 Dec 2007, 05:14
WOW Ginnie back to my childhood, that is what this picture is about, you have captured the moment extremely well, children in Holland are 'strong' believers in Sinterklaas up to the age of 7/8 years old, I was a great believer myself, always tried to keep 'out of trouble' that time of year (yea yea wink )now it is nice to play tricks on other people and get a lot of fun out of it wink tonguetongue
Ginnie Hart: Back to MY childhood, Astrid, which I never had, sadly. Maybe that's why I'm getting to be a Child here in Holland, as though for the first time! In time I'll throw in the playful tricks, but for now, I have a tearful smile. smile Thanks.
c'est délicieux! j'aime bien voir les petits si impressionnés
Ginnie Hart: I agree, O-P. So touchingly sweet. Thank you.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 5 Dec 2007, 06:51
Oh, this is my Sinterklaas- pic- such a nice 'liefdevolle' scene between 'grootvader' Sint and the 'meisje'! I like the inspiring trust atmosphere and I like especially the B&W for my eyes are already satisfied with the many colours in this Chrismas- shopping time! The velvety dark of Sinterklaas' robe is more beautiful than its 'cruying' red! All the pretty, fine details of his dress can be admired at close range. I could wish to be the little child once again! 'Een heerlijk avondje" for you and Donica!
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Philine, this is YOUR Sinterklaas! Thanks for sharing him with me! And now I'm glad, after all your thoughtful words, that I changed this to sepia! Thank you.
  • Aussie
  • Australia
  • 5 Dec 2007, 07:14
Yes I think the little girl wants that ring to be in her stocking. Very elegant in his lace, thank you Ginnie for sharing the history with us.
Ginnie Hart: HA! I wonder if all the boys/girls want his rings?! smile But thank Astrid for being persistent in my going to see him. I will be eternally thankful, because I have seen a side of our own Santa Claus that I never quite understood. Thanks, Aussie.
  • Scarlet
  • The Netherlands
  • 5 Dec 2007, 07:16
I knew I could trust you Ginnie to post a picture of Sinterklaas smile Such memories.
Ginnie Hart: So glad I didn't disappoint you, Scarlet. smile Thank Astrid because I never would have really known otherwise. The day would have just floated by....
  • Shakara
  • on the spot
  • 5 Dec 2007, 07:45
Very nice shot Ginnie..
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Shakara.
  • Tracy
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 5 Dec 2007, 07:54
Priceless shot Ginnie. As you know I'm a big kid at heart and would have loved to have seen this so thanks to you I have and Astrid of course.smile
Ginnie Hart: Yes, Tracy, I know you're a big kid at heart! So glad you got to see him through my eyes (and Astrid's too, of course).
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 5 Dec 2007, 08:08
Ginnie, sorry, a little addition: Sinterklaas has arrived from Spain with his steamboat and his Pieten on 17 th november in Kampen where I have been. Since three weeks he toured through Nederland.
Ginnie Hart: Ahhh. Well, I'll get it straight one of these years, as I get more and more details. I guess he WOULD have to come on a boat from Spain. Does he bring his white horse on the boat and then ride him once he hits land? I'm guessing so! Thanks, Philine.
Sinterklaas is a wonderful tradition. The thing that strikes me most is the fact that small children "believe" in him and nothing can shatter their belief. When they grow older, usually around seven, they are beginning to doubt and that is the moment for the parents to illucidate them. At that point they move to the other side of 'believers' and help the grown ups to keep up the secret about the Sint.
Ginnie Hart: That is our experience as well, Wim, with Santa Claus in the States. I never had the experience myself while growing up in my dad's preacher home. I think I lost a lot of my childhood by not having that experience. So, I get to experience it now! smile Thanks, Wim.
This is beautiful, Ginnie. I love the interaction between Sinterklaas and the little girl. He looks serious, but not intimidating. This little girl has maintained her personal space and looks to be listening intently, but to me she looks ever so slightly uncertain. Actually, I could write an essay on what feelings and memories this photograph has stirred in me - but I will spare you. lol! I looked at the rest of your photographs, too. They are super, Ginnie! Seems like you really enjoyed your visit. (:o)
Ginnie Hart: I LOVE your essay thus far, Roz. Please don't stop! smile I very much am enjoying this tradition and having it make sense out of ours back in the States. It's all coming together somehow, Roz, and will make me see it all with new eyes. Thanks!
Beautiful details in his white clothes and gloves....
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Aksel.
  • Paul
  • 5 Dec 2007, 11:01
lovely capture Ginnie
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Paul.
  • Helen
  • Albuquerque, NM, USA
  • 5 Dec 2007, 11:50
This is an amazing photo! I have always loved Santa Claus and I love learning the history!
Ginnie Hart: It's like I'm learning it all over again, Helen! smile Thanks.
  • Monika
  • London
  • 5 Dec 2007, 11:51
Santa Claus coming from Spain and riding a white horse??? That's completely wrong, every child knows he comes from Lapland! wink You made me study wikipedia now (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus) smile smile smile
Ginnie Hart: HA! He probably also comes in a boat first, Monika, but I'm a Child and don't care how it happens. Just tell me WHEN and I'll be there. smile Thank for the link. And you should see the long treatise that Louis just wrote after you! smile
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 5 Dec 2007, 12:05
Here is a site if you quickly want to learn some more. http://www.thehollandring.com/sinterklaas.shtml

I must say that some of the stuff (I have read Wiki's version too) are a bit far fetched. That the Saint was a protector of children - true. That he gave gifts to all and sundry - true. Lived long ago - true. That he ever had assistants with a black skin colour - unsure. That all the dutch (all ages) enjoy the event is also true. Wiki says it is a holiday, not true - it is a holyday remembering the Saint.

All the adult dutch denying that they love Sinterklaas - ask them if they eat 'Pepernoten', 'Taai-taai' and such. Heh, heh. My favourite is the taai-taai. And will anyone deny their children or grand-children. The adults are keeping it alive if you ask me.

Now for the link to Santaclaus. A couple of centuries ago the day was celebrated wider in europe and scandinavia. One of the immigrant ships even had the good man as a bow sprite. The american-european communities like the pensylvanian dutch may have kept some vestigaes of the feast.
Mainly, everything died down.

Then came one of the 1920's Christmasses and there is a company by the name of Coke-Cola. To boost sales they invented the jolly character in a red suit and a white beard to make their billboards look good. This caught on like wild fire. Hallmark and some story writers not far behind. Before long someone (probably someone with recent ties to europe) decided that Father Christmas could be Santaclaus. The reindeer, northpole and such came later.

I have researched this stuff more than 10 years ago and doing this from memory and may have the smaller facts about Santaclaus wrong. If memory serves well the reindeer was from Hallmark - definitely Rudolph.

In short - Santaclaus is a commercial success that needed roots which were provided by further commercial successes. Crazy thing is how it caught on world wide - even holland.

When I was there the first time in 1977 there was absolutely no Santaclaus Christmas. Sinterklaas was live and well 20 days before Christmas. I bet you will see a lot of Santaclaus in holland now. In SA we were reminded of Santa ever since October.

I have a friend who is a baker in one of the small towns in northern holland. He started baking Sinterklaas treats in October to have enough supplies for the running-up period and the day itself.

Excellent picture. One little item - a lot of care was taken to make this guy look authentic - the headdress, the lacy stuff and the huge rings. Why the glasses? The way he is looking over them suggest they could be fake - it may be Santaclaus influence tongue
Ginnie Hart: I knew I would get something very important from you, Louis, but you way outdid yourself! And I read every word with keen interest. smile LOL about your keen observation on the glasses. Astrid told me he should have gotten a pair that looked a bit older! I'm guessing our nasty Santa Claus influence as seeped in everywhere! Thanks for all the time and energy you took, my friend!
  • Intern
  • United States
  • 5 Dec 2007, 12:40
very cool shot.like the details here and lovely tones.
Ginnie Hart: Thank you kindly, Intern.
Very nice shot Ginnie. I ilke the details and the expressions
Ginnie Hart: I appreciate that, Richard. Thank you.
  • Kathryn
  • Germany
  • 5 Dec 2007, 13:56
They both have very concentrated looks on their faces. That is nice because it speaks to me that it is a special moment between them. Thanks for the history and the special photograph!
Ginnie Hart: Thank you, Kathryn, and you're welcome. I feel like I got my education as well!
Had a peek at the colour shots but much prefer this one Ginnie. Regardless of the history behind the occasion this is a wonderful capture and stands on it's own anyway. David.
Ginnie Hart: Your words are very kind, David. Thank you! Glad this is the one I put up here. smile
  • Bill Phillips
  • Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire
  • 5 Dec 2007, 17:28
My daughter's boss is Dutch and this is a really big night. Terrific outfit. Beats the one I will be wearing on Sunday into a cocked hat smile
Ginnie Hart: HA! Donica had her day at the office with her chocolate letters and her poem, so she got into the spirit as well. Thanks, Bill.
  • DrAW!
  • 5 Dec 2007, 18:19
nice shot ginne
love the mood of the monochrome
checked your blogspot
they're also brilliant in colour
Ginnie Hart: Thanks, as always, DrAW, for stopping by and commenting!
  • blackdog
  • Another World
  • 5 Dec 2007, 18:35
Looks like a beniegn bishop - a little spooky. Super tonal range as always and nice and sharp given the slow shutter!
Ginnie Hart: HA! I was trying to decide if he'd scare me as a child, Mike. Maybe that kind of awe is good. Gotta have some reverence here, you know. smile Thanks.
  • Chris
  • very wet & very windy
  • 5 Dec 2007, 20:46
Very fancy Santa Ginnie smile
Ginnie Hart: Just like your magician, Chris! smile Thanks.
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 5 Dec 2007, 21:51
Your remark about "our nasty Santa Claus" - if anything in my little novel made you think I am against Santa - he is Ok and the goodwill generated in the process is very much OK.

The commercial origin is probably long forgotten by the non-believers (adults) who try to get the young ones to believe as long as possible.
Ginnie Hart: Oh, no, not at all, Louis. That was MY remark about my own experience compared to what I saw here in Holland on Saturday. He's okay...it's just the commercial stuff that has ruined him for me. I now need to go back and take a second look. But thanks for your coming back to clarify. You are just a wealth of information and I love it!
  • Ellie
  • UK
  • 6 Dec 2007, 00:37
A wonderfully old looking picture Ginnie. I think I prefer this version because the brightly coloured background in the other one is a bit distracting.

That said, I love the pictures on your blog, what a fantastic sense of wonder you've managed to capture.

Oh, and I expect you'll have looked up St Nicholas on Wikipedia by now wink
Ginnie Hart: I prefer this one, too, Ellie, which is why I put it up on SC. The others are for context more than anything else. Snapshots! I've looked up a LOT stuff now on this fella. I feel well-equipped to go back home to see our Santa again for the first time. smile Thanks.
  • L.Reis
  • Portugal
  • 6 Dec 2007, 11:31
Santa Claus is coming to town...!!!!
I one of those who lloves everything about Christmas traditions...This picture is of an exquisite elegance...once again: you are really talented in processing your photos (you are really talented in many ways....) smile
Ginnie Hart: We don't have this kind of "exquisite elegance" in out American Santa Claus, I'm afraid, Lina. (sigh) And YOU should talk about talent in processing!!! Thank you.
  • Ruth
  • United States
  • 6 Dec 2007, 15:26
I think she's staring at his ring. Maybe she's gonna kiss it. He is quite the elegent Sinterklaas.
Ginnie Hart: I do too, Ruth. Those rings were something else. Can you imagine our Santa Claus looking like this?? smile Thanks.
A peculiar history this of Sinterklaas. The translation in Spain could be "Santa Claus" or San Nicholas, this one less well-known. The ranking of personages who bring the gifts to the children in Spain would be, first SS.MM. Los Reyes Magos de Oriente (Kings Magics of East), Melchor, Gaspar and Balthasar, they come the night from the 5 of January. Later the night of Christmas takes to the honors Papá Noel!
Ginnie Hart: I guess if anyone would know, José-Angel, it would be you. I should have asked you first. smile Thanks.
  • Kay
  • Portland, OR
  • 13 Dec 2007, 01:17
I love his outfit, Ginnie! That crown is beautiful. Sinterklass really knows how to dress, doesn't he?
Ginnie Hart: We're not used to this in the States, are we, Kay! smile Thanks.

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