Sinterklaas and Saint Nicolas in French, is a holiday tradition in the Netherlands and Belgium, celebrated every year on Saint Nicholas’ eve (December 5) or, in Belgium, on the morning of December 6. The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of, among other things, children.
Special candy is made for this event such as chocolate characters and pepernoten.
These chocolate characters come in all varieties and all kinds of chocolate. Dr Shock prefers the dark chocolate type. What kind of chocolate do you like? My hypothesis is that medbloggers like dark chocolate. If you want to participate in this observational study please vote on the top right of this blog.
On Saint Nicholas Eve gifts are given to mostly the children but also other invited parties. These gifts are usually ingeniously wrapped, and are therefore called surprises. They are also mostly accompanied by a poem. This poem is usually an occasion to have a laugh.
Pepernoten (Spice nuts?) are a cookie-like kind of candy, traditionally associated with the Sinterklaas holiday in the Netherlands and Belgium. You will see the pepernoot in two varieties, one light brown, randomly shaped and made from the same ingredients as taai-taai, but is very hard like a nutshell, where the name originated from (nut = noot). The other variety is nowadays more common and uses the ingredients that are used for speculaas. That one is not as hard as the first one. Peper, means spiced in this case.
Sinterklaas is the basis for the North American figure of Santa Claus; the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam maintained a Sinterklaas tradition, long after it was occupied by the English and renamed New York City. The name Santa Claus is derived from older Dutch Sinte Klaas.