Archive for December 6th, 2013

December 6, 2013

Black Pete

black pete by Yarek Waszul

Black Pete (‘Zwarte Piet‘) is the companion of Saint Nicholas¬†(‘Sinterklaas,’ from which the English term ‘Santa Claus’ is derived) in the folklore of the Low Countries (primarily¬†Belgium and the Netherlands). Like Santa Claus, Zwarte Piet is a hybrid stock character of pagan origin.

The characters of Zwarte Pieten appear only in the weeks before Saint Nicholas’s feast, first when the saint is welcomed with a parade as he arrives in the country (generally by boat, having traveled from Madrid, Spain). The tasks of the Zwarte Pieten are mostly to amuse children, and to scatter pepernoten, kruidnoten and strooigoed (special sinterklaas candies) for those who come to meet the saint as he visits stores, schools, and other places.

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