Dutch Sinterklaas tradition at threat
28 November 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Sinterklaas tradition appears to be gradually fading in the multicultural Dutch society in the face of rising criticism to the saint's helpers, 'Zwarte Pieten' (Black Peters).
28 November 2006
AMSTERDAM — The Sinterklaas tradition appears to be gradually fading in the multicultural Dutch society in the face of rising criticism to the saint's helpers, 'Zwarte Pieten' (Black Peters).
A Sinterklaas was attacked by youths at several locations in recent days and public broadcasters have indicated they want to start a debate on the Black Peters.
Debate about Zwarte Pieten has been intensifying in recent years, with some immigrant groups complaining about racist connotations, news service NIS reported on Tuesday.
Tradition, however, states that Sinterklaas' helpers are not black slaves, but have black faces from sliding down chimneys to deliver presents.
Sinterklaas, the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus, arrives by steamboat from Spain at about 20 November each year to give presents to all children on 5 December.
Public broadcaster NOS reports on the arrival of Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten.
But this year, NOS reported that the steamboat sailed into a rainbow on the way to the Netherlands. As a result, the Zwarte Pieten have blue, green, yellow and red faces this year.
A debate has since erupted on internet forums about the alleged political correctness of NOS.
Expats on Expatica's discussion forums have also long debated the existence of Zwarte Pieten. You join the discussion by clicking here.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news