10 things you need to know about Zwarte Piet

Thanks, largely true… I’m not sure what to think. Traditions change over time. I predict Zwarte Piet will have to tolerate Colored and White Piets at his side, because in the end no one likes a fun celebration with painful elements to some people. It’s awkward. The racism-discussion concerning the Dutch Sinterklaas celebrations returns every Autumn; it started several years ago and gets larger every year. Now, even the United Nations have their say on it and say the Netherlands should abandon the whole St Nicolas tradition. @D

The Netherlands by numbers

There is one sure way to really annoy the average Dutch person and that is to criticise the persona of Zwarte Piet. Not that we want to annoy anyone, you understand.

But we do think it pertinent to aware of the facts if you find yourself having the traditional Zwarte Piet discussion.  Here are 10 essential pieces of information to help you argue your case, which ever side you are on.

1. St Nicholas’ death on December 6 was commemorated in the Netherlands for centuries. Way back in 1427 there are records of people setting their shoes at the St Nicholas church in Utrecht in the hope of getting a gift.  The celebration was banned during the Reformation but the Dutch being the Dutch,  continued to do it anyway. Sinterklaas or Pakjesavond is now celebrated on the eve of his death – or name day – December 5.

The Feast…

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