Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dank je Sinterklaasje!

Hello my dear readers! This past week, Sinterklaas paid a visit to the Loyola Huis here in Leuven. For Belgians, Sinterklaas is an important holiday tradition, almost more important than Christmas! On the sixth of December, Sinterklaas and his helper Zwarte Piet come down the chimney and give good little boys and girls presents in their shoes, much like St. Nicholas Day in the United States. Children leave their shoes out by the chimney the night before with a carrot and sugar cube for the horse Sinterklaas rides, Slecht-weer-vandaag which means "horrible weather today" in Dutch, a letter for Sinterklaas, and a beer for Zwarte Piet (which is so different from milk and cookies for Santa)! This year, the Belgians that live in my house organized a Sinterklaas celebration for the internationals in the house and it was a wonderful time!

The students in the Loyola house waiting for Sinterklaas to arrive!

Sinterklaas entering the Loyola Huis!

Sinterklaas and his helpers
Since the Belgians went home this past weekend to celebrate Sinterklaas with their families, we celebrated the Thursday before. On Wednesday, everyone in the house put his or her show outside of their door with their beer, sugar, carrot and a letter to Sinterklaas. On Thursday morning, there were bags of treats sitting in our shoes! On Thursday night, the Belgians put on a show to celebrate Sinterklaas! Zwarte Piet entered the common room throwing candy and cookies and singing for Sinterklaas to enter and celebrate with us! Throughout the evening, Sinterklaas announced the results of a survey we took about the members of our house, like who is the smartest person in the house or the best dancer. Shockingly, I won Best Dutch Speaker, which was quite a surprise. In order to receive my chocolate Sinterklaas figurine, I was required to translate a video about Erasmus (which is what Europeans call "study abroad"). I, along with two other girls, translated the "interesting" video our Belgian comrades showed. Throughout the night, all of the members of the house had to do other crazy tasks, like catching whipped cream off of their hands or whipping and egg into meringue as fast as they could or having a dance-off in order to receive candy and prizes! For me, this was incredibly different than any other holiday celebration I have ever experienced and I enjoyed it so much!

Zwarte Piet clapping for Sinterklaas

My face upon finding out that I was voted Best Dutch Speaker--the face of pure terror!

There is nothing like the celebration for Sinterklaas and I am incredibly thankful for the Belgians in my house for organizing an event that is so important to their culture! I, along with many members in the house, had a wonderful time celebrating our first Sinterklaas! It is a wonderful tradition and I liked it so much, I might even celebrate next year when I am back in the United States! I hope you all enjoyed hearing about a traditional  Belgian holiday celebration! Tot ziens!

 A nice shot of Zwarte Piet dancing!


  1. Hi Clementine,
    I am very happy you enjoyed Sinterklaas that much! It was really our pleasure to organize it and it would be lovely if you continue celebrating!
    A big hug

  2. What a cool celebration and congrats on "Best Dutch Speaker". I love "horrible weather today", sounds like it should be a Cleveland term!!