A dear friend asked me to outline what the difference is between Santa Clause and Sinter Klaas. Easy assignment - not! Actually (in my mind) the two mish mash into each other somewhat. To get to the bottom of the difference I decided to go to the universal library, better known as GO GOOGLE IT. Sure enough, this led to further confusion and made it all but impossible for me to explain, yet It is so very important for anyone that is interested to walk the isles of that library. The two isles to walk down are:Sinterklaas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Santa Claus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Don't stop there, go to all of the tied in links. Kind of cool to say the least.
Now for what I remember as a kid. I stink on dates (GOOGLE THEM) but it all starts with the visit of Sinterklaas and his blackened white helpers. No reindeers to be found but instead a massive white horse for Sinterklaas while the helpers walk. On this visit, the mighty steed needs to eat so we all (Kids) would put a shoe on the window sill with a carrot or something for the horse to nibble at. For this courtesy, we would be given a small token or gift. Nothing big. On or about December 5 Sinter Klaas gave the important gift. I have to say that it wasn't always toys. What I remember is that it had more of a somber feel to it than the American version. The childhood awe was directed to the man himself and not to any third party. His assistants were white guys that became black from sliding down chimneys. At least that is how I remember it. Nowadays that aspect is all messed up with racial over and under tones. (Leave it up to humans to mess up things)
No need to go into the Santa guy except I now (in retrospect) wonder about him. What are the ties? White beard, horse vs reindeer, santas helpers vs swaarte pete, gifts and on and on. Perhaps one is the homogenized version of the other - or not. I also found the following aspect of him while sitting in a bakery and doing this little report. Two lovely ladies and a baby were sitting close enough for me to ask them. They said that he was originally from Turkey. A rich guy with a birthday on December 5th that gave gifts to the poor.
Recently, in Holland, Sinter Klass is being depicted as a slave monger because of his dominance over his black assistants. The color is seen to be symbolic etc. My kid asked me about all of this and I said: "Son, that is all BS."
The Santa figure commonly known in America, is (In my eyes) no longer what he was but is now a marketing assistant to the multinational toy companies. Interestingly, most toys are made in China where neither Sinter or Santa play a very important role with the exception of finances to the manufacturers.
Should we be cynical about all of this? Which is the right one, Santa or Sinter? What is this all about anyway? In my eyes it is about behavior and beliefs and the magic that resides in a childs eyes. Does it matter if the "MAN" arrives by sled or by sea? NAAAAHH not really. When he arrives it is in the mind of a child. It is in the magic of it all. Isn't it? Ask your self. It's the magic and the wonder - isn't it? Isn't it? Yes it is - Isn't it?