When I turned the television on this morning I switched to Nick, Jr. For most of the summer I used to watch only children’s tv programming when I was alone, though these days I only watch one program: Timmy Tijd (Wiki: English) on that channel. What can I say – the animation is for this little preschool sheep is cute. It uses the same animation as Wallace & Gromit. I don’t even watch it for the language as there are no words! After watching Timmy Tijd I switch over to Comedy Central for episodes of Sam Sam, Het Zoonetje in Huis, and Kees & Co – all Dutch comedy shows.
But I noticed this morning that the show after Timmy Tijd was something different – a show by the name of Kleine Klaas. The description reads:
Deze oude, wijze man die elk jaar op 5 december cadeautjes uitdeelt, was ooit natuurlijk een kleine jongen. This wise, old man who gives out gifts every year on December 5 was also of course once a small boy.
Van wie heeft hij eigenlijk die stoomboot gekregen? Waarom kan hij zo goed gedichten schrijven? En waarom stopt hij zomaar cadeautjes in je schoen? Kortom, hoe werd hij Sinterklaas? Je ontdekt het door het kijken van deze leuke filmpjes. Who did he actually receive the steamboat from? Why can he write such good poems? And why does he put gifts in your shoe? How did he become Sinterklaas? You can discover this by looking at these fun videos.
Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands on November 17 this year (usually he arrives on a Saturday). There will be a parade in The Hague. And of course he does not arrive alone – Zwarte Piet (black Pete) comes along as well. This year the discussions of racism seem to have intensified, with even the United Nations briefly involved before retreating and dropping the case. The controversy with the character is that the actor uses “black face” as decoration, although this is used regardless of your skin tone.
Of course, Sinterklaas (celebrated on December 5) is not the same as Santa Clause (celebrated on December 25 in America and other countries). Sinterklaas leaves gifts in your shoe and is real in a child’s mind. Santa Clause is not celebrated as such in the Netherlands – the gifts you get on December 25 (and 26!) are known to be from your parents. The idea of Santa Clause actually originated from Sinterklaas – which I found a bit odd as an American!