Yesterday, Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet arrived from Spain. Their boat arrived in Scheveningen. To mark this occasion, The Hague had a parade throughout the city streets. It was a rather long parade as it started in Scheveningen itself at 12:30 and ended at 4:10.
There are only three things you need to know about the Sinterklaas parades:
1. 99% of the participants are dressed up as Zwarte Piet (Sinterklaas’ helper)
2. One person is dressed up as Sinterklaas
3. Zwarte Piet passes out kruidnoten, a small, hard ginger cookie, to children.
Oh… and sometimes if you have kids, they will beg you to run from one street to the next in an attempt to get more candy. At least that is what Marco’s mom said he wanted!
As you can see, most floats still had advertising. It helps pay for the parade. But then of course you also have more obvious advertising…
There are also some Zwarte Piet who really got into the act, either riding past on roller skates (hard to do on cobblestone streets!) or in general just having fun like these Piets:
Here is Sinterklaas near the end of the parade (and some Spanish noblemen):
All in all a fun parade, though it was weird to be watching another parade so soon after returning from Disneyland Paris, where extravagant on-the-hour parades seem to be a specialty.
It is now officially the holiday season in the Netherlands! And it will be that much harder to resist gevulde speculaas…