Sinterklaas (or more formally Sint Nicolaas or Sint Nikolaas), is a traditional Winter holiday figure in Dutch-speaking Europe (Netherlands and Flanders), and is also well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including South Africa, Aruba, Suriname, Curaçao, Bonaire, and Indonesia. He is one of the sources of the holiday figure of Santa Claus in North America.
He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas’ eve (5 December) or, in Belgium, on the morning of 6 December. Originally, the feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas—patron saint of children, sailors, and the city of Amsterdam, among others. Although he is usually referred to as Sinterklaas he is also known as Goedheiligman or simply Sint.
Closely related figures are also known in German-speaking Europe and territories historically influenced by German or Germanic culture, including: Switzerland (Samichlaus), Germany and Austria (Sankt Nikolaus); the region of South Tyrol in Italy; Nord-Pas de Calais, Alsace and Lorraine in France – as well as in Luxembourg (De Kleeschen), parts of Central Europe and the Balkans.
Christmas is such a major time for children everywhere and they love to be involved with all the preparations that surround this festive season. Here they will find the opportunity to write a letter to Santa, play simple wordsearches or crosswords, colour in some fun pictures or even watch one of the most famous Christmas films ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year and is celebrated all over the world as a time of sharing, giving and love. Christmas Customs and Traditions may vary around the world but the sentiments are the same.
Food plays a very important part in the season of Goodwill and Festive Cheer. Christmas is a time of giving and sharing and, so having friends and family over to share a table which is laden with rich, lavish food is part of what we perceive Christmas is all about.
The magic that is Christmas is drawing near once more, and from November onwards the Christmas Markets are setting up to welcome visitors for the festive season. Traditionally one thinks of Germany when conjuring up Christmas Markets, but there are now Christmas Markets and Christmas Festivals held throughout Europe and, indeed far beyond, as people of all nations celebrate this wonderful romantic time of year.Christmas is a romantic, and reflective, time when the people you meet seem to be a little bit friendlier, the world seems to be a more hopeful place and even the coldest, snowiest of days feels crisp and cosy. It is a time of warming spicy aromas, candlelight, Christmas Carols and blazing log fires, and above all it is a time to spend with family and loved ones and where better to go than to one of these traditional Christmas Markets and leave the worries of the outside world behind, if only for a short while.