Sunday, December 7, 2008

the nightmare before christmas

'Tis the season...we all have our traditions and ways to celebrate the season. My mother spent some of her childhood in Germany and Spain. We celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th, the same way she did as a child. Before bed, the children place a shoe in front of the fireplace. We add goodies for the horse (carrots, apples, etc...). During the night, St. Nicolas comes on his horse and leaves treats in the shoes. The children usually get their own ornament and some candy. Simple, sweet, harmless enough.
Enter my brother-in-law Hans. From Holland. They, too, have St. Nicolas (Sinter Klass). They also understand the reality that St. Nicolas needs some helpers to get it all done. Those who can't get a personal visit from the big guy get a knock on the door from these guys....


Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete)
The children gather (hide) in the living room and prepare (brace) themselves for the visitors from Spain (Hell). They come with black faces, afro hair and jester costumes. Singing, shouting and throwing candy. Who wouldn't love that??
11 years of this, Harley's palms still sweat at the thought of their arrival. The children must come up in turn to get their stuff. You never know when one will grab and kiss you. Harley wasn't gonna let that happen. Back off Buster!


here's a throwback to Zwarte Pieten '98...recognize this guy??

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15 comments:

jen said...

Ha Ha! I love it! I don't blame the kids, I'd be hiding along with them! Ahhh...aren't traditions just beautiful??

Butler Family said...

Awww... I miss having them come each year!! Now that I have a child of my own it would make it so much more fun:) Thanks for taking pictures so we all that aren't there can see it:)

jaesi said...

WHAT THE H KIND OF TRADITION IS THAT!!!!

That paints gonna clog some pores....

The Martinez Family said...

Oh the memories:) Something we always look forward to:) It was nice we were able to get on the webcam with my family:) How I loved them coming as a kid:) Thanks for sharing!

Anna said...

Yikes - just reading the blog scared me! :)

Brooke said...

What on earth! Black Pete is the most bizarre Christmas tradition ever.

hdayton said...

If this is the way they celebrate Christmas, I'd steer clear of their house on Halloween!

Janice said...

Wow. That's all I can say. Chris doesn't dress up ever, does he?

Marie said...

You know, the whole time we lived in Norfolk, I was unaware of all of your traditions! I love that picture of Harley! too cute!

LeAnn said...

I think I'd pee my pants.

The Winns said...

So I have heard you tell me about this grand tradition for years, but to see the pictures...wow, I think nightmare is the right word! I will stick with St. Nicholas Day :)

cougar fan said...

that is totally demented

Little Hensley Fam said...

those guys look pretty scary to me!

Heather said...

That is so funny. . .and by the looks of it, I don't think I can blame Harley for being, eh, nervous!
What a "unique" tradition. . .

Sydney Schlosser said...

Omg im so bummed i missed it this year! December just isnt the same without it!