I'm feeling festive and nationalistic for Holland! Today I will be discussing a particular holiday in Holland.
Tomorrow, December 5th, is known in Holland as Sinterklaas Day. This Holiday is generally celebrated in lieu of Christmas; although the American Santa and Christmas trees are becoming more popular in Holland, the more traditional holiday of Sinterklaas Day is still quite preferred.
Sinterklaas is basically the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus (notice the name similiarities). Sinterklaas, however, quite differs from the American form. He is a bishop who hails not from Holland, but rather Spain. On the night before the fifth, he travels with his Moorish companion, Zwarte Piet (along with roughly six other Moorish companions; the number varies among accounts), up to the Netherlands, to give gifts to children. Once he disembarks his ship, he mounts a white horse and travels throughout the country. Like Santa, Sinterklaas jumps on to the roofs of houses and he climbs through the chimney.
Children put their wooden shoes, klompen, beside the fireplace. They put apples and carrots in the shoes for Sinterklaas, and in return, Sinterklaas fills their shoes with oranges, chocolate, gingersnap cookies, and licorice.
Children who are bad are stuffed into a sack and kidnapped to Spain. And American children are afraid of receiving coal!