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World Advent Calendar

by Mandy Barrow

Christmas Jokes | British Christmas | London Topic | Project Britain | Homework Help

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What did the children put in their shoes last night and why?














A Carrot!

Last night, the children in Netherlands, put a carrot in their shoes. This morning, they woke up to find that St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) had filled their shoes with sweets and treats.

In the past children used to fill their shoes with hay and sugar

The carrots, hay and sugar the children leave in their shoes is for St. Nicholas' horse.

Sinterklaas, 5th December, is a traditional holiday in the Netherlands (and Belgium). To celebrate the 'birthday' of Santa Claus the Dutch exchange presents.

Saint Nicholas' Eve, (5th December) is the main day for gift-giving in the Netherlands.

The evening of 5th December is called Sinterklaasavond or Pakjesavond ("presents' evening").

Families usually eat special food called 'banketletter' or 'letter van banket'

"The 'banketletter' or 'letter van banket' is made of puff pastry with a sweet filling of 'banketspijs' ( grounded almonds), or a savoury filling of minced meat. The sweet letter van banket is more common and usually shaped in the letter S from Sinterklaas."

Renée Hes

Dutch children believe that St. Nicholas lives in Spain, where he keeps a big red book in which he writes down all the good and bad deeds of every child.

Traditionally, in mid-November, Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands by boat from his home in Spain . His grand arrival is broadcast on the television, and great crowds gather at the waterfront to greet him.

tree During the two weeks before his special day, it is said that Sinterklaas rides across rooftops at night on his white horse, listening through chimneys for good children.

tree On Christmas Day, people in the Netherlands eat a special breakfast consisting of "Kerststol" (a fruit and almond-paste bread), "krentebolletjes" (current buns) and "roomboter" (real butter).

tree The main Christmas meal is eaten in the evening. It usually consists of five courses starting with a soup and a "pasteitje" (Vol-au-Vent filled with a roux). The main meat on the table is "rollade" (rolled pork) with plenty of tasty "jus" (gravy) for the boiled potatoes and other vegetables.

Did you know?

The name Santa Claus originally came from the Dutch name for St Nicholas - Sinterklaas . The Dutch settlers, in New Amsterdam (New York), brought the tradition of St Nicholas /Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) to America.

Find out more about the Netherlands

St Paul's British Primary School, in Belgium sent us the following message last year:

We live in Belgium. When we came to school this morning, (6th December) We found sweets in our boots. St Nicholas had also left us a present for the class. We call St Nicholas 'Sinterklaas'.

We call Father Christmas "De Kerstman"

19 days till Christmas!

I wonder if Father Christmas has received
my letter yet? I sent it up the chimney.

He is very busy making sure all our presents
are ready for Christmas.

Here is the first verse of Silent Night written in Dutch.

Silent Night
Stille nacht, Heilige nacht

Stille nacht , heilige nacht.
Davids zoon, lang verwacht,
die miljoenen eens zaligen zal,
wordt geboren in Bethlehems stal.
Hij der schepselen Heer.
Hij der schepselen Heer.

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