On December 5th, Dutch people will celebrate Sinterklaas. Lucky for me, I learned about Sinterklaas in Dutch class. The US Santa Claus comes from Sinterklaas. In mid November, Sinterklaas travels by boat from Spain to the Netherlands. He is based on Saint Nicolas of who lived in the 9th Century in Turkey. Over the period of a few weeks, children will put their shoe out at night, hoping for a treat in the morning. A chocolate letter is a normal gift that a child will receive.
In Dutch class, we all brought a gift that was 5 euros or less. Then we used dice to determine whether someone picks a gift, opens it, all gifts get passed to the left/right or you can steal a gift. It was a very funny class, opening presents and eating Kruidnoten, which is a small, round gingerbread-like cookie.
By the end of the night, I had three cute figurines from a store in Nijmegen. Additionally, we each prepared a poem in Dutch about another student. Unfortunately, I had missed when were assigned another student. Sinterklaas (teacher) was nice enough to write a poem for me.